This past April I was privileged to have my work accepted for publication by Beyond Words literary magazine. “Flat Tire” received a two-page spread in a particularly handsome issue, to my eye, and I am extremely grateful to see my work appreciated by others well enough to finally find a place in print. Thank you, Beyond Words!
While I’m mentioning this, I must also make a secondary but equally important note: within the April issue, “Flat Tire” is directly followed by a flash fiction piece by another author that rocked me to my core: “The Girl in the Bathtub,” by Francesca Ferrauto. This piece accurately portrays the precise scenario in which my own childhood sexual abuse took place but, astonishingly, manages to convey the truth of the experience without any graphic detail. It revealed myself and my history to me in a way I had never known before, gently, and with hope.
For that, Francesca, I am eternally grateful. Thank you.
Since I do not own the rights to her piece, I cannot reproduce it for you here, but I do recommend you purchase a copy of the April issue (either a digital or hard copy) so you may read “The Girl in the Bathtub” for yourself. It will be well worth your time if you wish to better understand and care for survivors of CSA, and it’s not even too difficult to read, as so many of these things often are.
You don’t need to purchase a copy of Beyond Words in order to read my poem, however; I retain the rights to that myself. I happily reproduce it for you here.
To my chagrin,
I’m not feminist enough to know how to change a flat.
So I ask Husband what to do,
not because I’m not a feminist
(although I might not be),
but because asking him is cheap.
so then to the community I encapsulate
(aside from incarnation wrought by Sunday supper)
in my pocket
I pose my S.O.S.
Air conditioner and CD player labor
to appease the puny monarch
in the back seat:
but at least my hair is washed.
While I struggle diaper bag
to the simmered sidewalk,
it goes (I later suppose)
down like this:
Sarah calls Jenn calls Emily texts Audrey,
Andy calls Husband,
two call me
but I can’t answer;
my hands are full of stroller handlebars.
We thread through weedy concrete banks to follow a river of exhaust.
A naughty branch slaps my baby’s face,
but given no eye to prod back at,
we press on.
Two sweaty Israelites endure a ten-minute desert
with brow-raising grace.
One thrills at the promise of frozen milk sans honey.
I have Jacob of the new testament here with me;
he sees a ladder
chock-full of angels
rising up from their couches and novels and streaming videos,
going down early from their offices
to dirty their fingers in the puddle of rubber on the corner of Spruce and Market.