Think of Susie Love and Silver Son, my aunt
said. She spouted nonsense words, her eyes sightless.
The news was on. A man said a pit bull
ripped a boy apart on his way to school. Same
day a guy grabbed a girl’s chest on the bus and I heard
the driver say, Boys will be boys. Their names
were child-song—Susie Love, Silver Son—
my aunt didn’t know them. The police fought
the dog for the body. Same day a boy
held my wrists above my head in bed and I shut
my eyes. He tore the stiches of my pants
to get me out of them. They shot the dog in the head.
My aunt held a needle and thread to the light.
She believed she could see. She believed in conspiracy
theories. She told me there is no moon. He held
my wrists above my head. I cried out. I didn’t.
Blood running down my legs. Cockroach hiding
in the shadow-sliver by the bathroom door. My aunt said
her skin broke out in cat scratches from things inside
the tap water. The boy died. I went to school.
A boy grabbed a girl’s chest on the bus and I
heard the driver say, Boys will be boys. Aunt asked,
If it’s always been here, how come
dogs still bark at the moon?
Emmalee Hagarman is an MFA candidate in poetry at the Ohio State University, where she serves as Associate Poetry Editor for The Journal. Her work has appeared in Rattle, Susquehanna Review, and Fiction Southeast. She is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.