C.R. Stice

For Amy and Becky

She is 16, and shy, with delicate wrists,
thin against the muscles of her forearms.
This is Casper, Wyoming where she quietly waits
to bloom. She walks every day from school
down a long road to work, sizing up customers
before they even reach her booths.
Those two men, in their mid-twenties she guessed,
did not strike her as right when they asked, again and again,
would she please go on a date with them both so she wouldn't have to choose.
One year later she nursed my sister as she watched
them walk across her 10 pm news--
the story too gruesome for daylight homes--
and she remembered the line of sweat that rolled
down her back, in the August heat of the cafe,
how it stopped midway down, frozen under their gaze.

The two girls were 11 and 18,
their tire flat when they left the store, strange
since it had been fine just a moment before, two
young men wait, smiles ready, car
door wide. Days later, Becky
climbed 120 feet from her death,
her sister's small body broken below.
My mother says if those girls had just been raped
it would have been mercy. She always pauses
then as if she can still feel the bile
that rose as she waited for them to leave,
the heat of the men's hands reaching
out to catch her wrist, asking her
one more time to please come for a drive.

C.R. Stice is currently working on her PhD in Creative Writing at UT Knoxville. Stice has a particular interest in the work of female poets, especially that which deals with the landscape of the body. She is also working on a project translating the work of women poets of Venezuela. Her work has appeared The Clark Street Review and Cutthroat. In the spring it will appear in a new anthology titled Desnudas en el desierto, which highlights the work of women from the US/Mexico border.

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