There is a child who hides
from the wolverine under her bed
She is crafted of ribbons
and dresses edged
with lace
that etch deep lithograph grooves
in the skin she tries to slough

But the ties, suspenders and briefs
are older and
say she is half of what they are
these men who carry heavy loads
of big magna private words
she cannot follow
and huddled jokes she can’t hear

Distinct in her quiet and somber disconnect
She dances and sings
for the mother
who sees what she isn’t
in place of what she is

It’s not quite Omelas
but she does follow away
from that simulated comfort
in a dust of pirouetting drafts
of the mother forgetting herself
into an air
of disappointment that lingers
after even her life is gone

Still the child lifts her arm to dance and turns to face the sun
A new warmth inside a different beat
and finds that it follows, if she lets it
-the wolverine-
so she asks what it needs and
with a mouth of ribbons
It answers:


An MFA candidate at UMass Amherst, J.L. Lapinel is a writer and educator from Manhattan who is now living in New England. Her work appears in Quill Books, Front Runner Quarterly, Wide Open Magazine, The Cambridge Collection, The North American Poetry Review, Odessa Poetry Review, Minetta Review and The Tin Penny.