by Laurel Dixon
Rebecca, sweet dandelion seed, tell me
where us girls can go when we get tired. The sun
is butter-cold and thin today, touching the crown
of your yellow hair. The woods are quiet.
We play pretend with red berries
smeared on rosy cheeks. I will always be your prince
because I’m taller: the tall girl who doesn’t know how
to pray your rosary. Soon your mother will tuck you back inside
with all your porcelain dolls. Soon your father
will tell you don’t cry, silence is
what god intended for little girls.
Rebecca, its nightfall and I’m too small
to scale your trellis. Rebecca, I’m no good
at hearing you swallow your sobs.
You ask St. Christopher for help
when our pink Barbie shoes go missing. Lately
we run into the woods as soon as we get home—
the breathing green making
shadow puppets on our shoulders.
Avoiding the belt-buckle snap
behind us, I can pray your bruises with my fingertips
like pink plastic beads.
Under the gnarled branches you rest your head
soft on my shoulder—tuck each breath into my neckline
like a little confession. Rebecca,
if you get tired we can always stay here.
I promise you St. Christopher won’t find us.