Boys

Boys share cigarettes on the edge of town
near the train tracks,
and used to burn down churches
they thought housed God.

I’m something of an enthusiast.
Margaret calls me a destroyer,
but her face is plain
and she shares a roof
with an alcoholic daddy.
Life advice is not hers to give.

Boys corner girls in bathroom stalls,
squeeze their knees in between the toilet
and hinged door.
Yank at hair,
let loose braids
unravel between their fingertips.
Excited about plaid skirts
and sheer tights.
Groping thighs underneath
scraped words reading,
Jesus saves you.

Boys turn into men;
railroad tracks are silent now.
Bathroom hallways collapse into dark alleys.
Pocketknives cut deep—
don’t squirm—
it will only hurt more.
Men shut the town out,
imprisoned in a two-bedroom apartment,
fucking girls that have thirteen different pills in them.

Margaret said I was a joke;
she died from a tumor after high school.
I wonder what she’d say
to the man that I’ve become,
but then again,
that’s not an opinion for her to have.

***

something not a woman

my home is dry and deserted.

that was once what I loved about it;
you needed to be strong to survive.

but after ten years, I finally scraped out
all the black tar sitting still in my stomach,
just to have rough hands crush my throat.

just to have broken men
keep playing with broken things—
confusing silence for approval.

in my next life, I wish to be born a gun
that way, I know I’d be safe.

that way, I’d be something worth looking after,
something worth fighting for,
something not a woman.

my home has not been my home
for quite some time.

***

December Ellis is a poet from Phoenix, Arizona, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts with a Concentration in Creative Writing Fiction from Arizona State University. She has been writing under the pen name December Ellis (d.ellis) since 2014 and self-published her first book of poetry, Things You Don’t Talk About, in June 2022.