She tried on pieces of the day,
knowing it belonged to others
who would catch her and run her out.
Her room was too small, her hurt outgrew it.
The town was too big, she feared her own desire.
What, in late summer, was just right?
Deserted tennis courts at night
a shade cooler than hot, crickets
crazy in the grass, stars to shrink her
when she started to fall
into the infinite parts of her mind,
a boy who smelled of beer
the heady, gorgeous thought she could be anyone;
someone could hold her this close and kiss her neck
and never think to ask her name.
In the morning, discovered.
Mascara skid-marks on her cheeks:
the end of make-believe.
Sore muscles and bones break like twigs
under the crashing weight of alone.
Focus on the pink squares of light,
the walls holding her in,
the tacked-up cheetah
free, free, free.
She turns this way and that
but there just isn’t a way out
of her body.
Yiskah Rosenfeld holds an MFA in poetry from Mills College. She received the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Prize and now serves as final judge. Her work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Poems appear in journals such as The Bitter Oleander, Blue Lyra, Lilith Magazine, Rattle, and The Seattle Review.