It is gunpowder on my tongue
Metal sharp twang and ache so deep,
I sometimes swear the bullet
lodged deep inside me too.
I don’t know how to carry the memory of a girl I knew as
terror and death, blood and bone and
She had a tattoo.
Someone held her, once,
kissed her baby toes, one by one,
and called her daughter.
I suppose they called her theirs too.
When feet came to running,
She wasn’t fast enough; I never tried
I don’t know where they buried her
The lake, the river, the slough
Laid her body beneath the earth for the worms to turn
Missing daughters, lost girls—
We were so forgotten.
Sometimes I forget how lucky I was to be found again.
I remember long brown hair
and mismatched eyes and I wonder if
I had died instead what she would
remember of me.
By Aspen McCarry
Aspen McCarry (they/them) is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh studying history and LGBTQ+ studies. When not writing, they can often be found drawing, making music, and trying to teach their cat a new trick.