In his bed, I am public
like the frog, in the marsh,
my body’s revolting glandular
secretion before the eyes of the boys who
know me. Not well. It is always
well enough. My apologies – flies
on a good man’s tongue, flies
on the perfect I used to be. If
I could fly to any wall
in the world and listen, I would stay
here. It is not fear. Fear
is an old roommate, calls in the middle
of dinner. Fear knows he is ugly.
Fear has started working out. Today,
fear ran three miles – sweat
onto the walkway down by the
river where the rope swing is, where
rocks twist Fear’s ankle, where
my grandfather lives. I stand with
him, holding hand to innocent
hand, believing nothing. Grandpa used
to wrestle Grandmother to the nighttime
grass, and they’d make whisky conversation
loud enough the whole neighborhood knew.
My grandfather would never hurt
me, and I will never expose that sack
of growing negatives tucked underneath
my dress – amniotic fluid – the emptiness I
keep with me just to feel it. Fear runs by
and he is handsome. My grandfather shouts greeting
I lift my fingers – a halfway guilty escape.
Sage Calder Hahn grew up in a rural part of Northwest Connecticut and currently lives in Boston following her graduation from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and English. This is her first published work.