Because I had no interest in learning
the art of blowjobs, practicing skills I saw no use for
on an acned and unappreciative audience,
I made myself a target.
Defending that virginity
like it was a goddamn lottery ticket
taught me better than AP English 11
the definition of irony:
When what happens is the opposite of what’s expected—
WHORE scrawled on my locker
four times in four years,
painted over to hide what’s written beneath
Ignore it; they’ll lose interest if you don’t react to them,
but my mother didn’t seem to understand that
ignoring it only made it worse, upped the ante:
Spitballs clinging to my hair, I terrified myself
as I leapt up like a dog gone blood simple,
whipping my desk across the room
like a prairie twister, bearing down towards Jason-or-Josh
Caught at the cuff of my long-sleeved shirt by Mrs. I,
revealing to her in a flash, the map on my arm
dotted and cross-hatched in cigarette burns and shallow cuts
silvery scars and half-scabbed attempts to Just Ignore It
After class, she finds me behind the portable,
hands me a blank notebook, a detention slip,
and a skinny volume of a book that’s not on the reading list—
stark white with jet-black capital letters spelling ARIEL.
I’m tired of writing you detentions for smoking back here,
she says, I’m not going to tell your dad what happened today,
and motions toward my arms—
But we need to figure out a better way for you to get through this.
In detention on Saturday morning,
I stabbed at the page with the sharp nib of a Pilot pen
and learned that in order to forge a sword that is sharp and strong
you must first suffer through the burning.
Allie Marini (Batts) holds degrees from Antioch University of Los Angeles & New College of Florida, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. She is managing editor for the NonBinary Review, Unbound Octavo, & Zoetic Press, & co-edits for Lucky Bastard Press with her man, performance poet B Deep. Allie is the author of several books of poetry which will not fit into 50 words or less. Find her on the web: https://www.facebook.com/AllieMariniBatts or @kiddeternity.