Mary Elizabeth Parker
Girl Broken, But She Knows
what’s tentative is not necessarily weak—sometimes it’s just unstable—gathered like a warm egg and watched for whatever tries to chip and shoulder its way out. Like living in a cave with a black cat: both of them hunting, both of them chasing whatever wraps dark in a darker shroud. She waits for the cracks to be sealed by a fingertip, maybe God’s. When the cat de-camps, she gathers her plate, her fork, and her black bandana (for forays to rob homes around her) and moves further back in the cave. At the mouth, crows dive for pyracanthus, fire-thorn their focus. Will what she never speaks fall back to her heart like sperm back to a man’s vas deferens? She doesn’t believe a god lives in her; believes only in the girl she was, murmuring off-key Running Bear and Little White Dove and love and women strong as Paul Bunyan. Waits for a wafer the shape of the cave mouth to enter her. When this is done (will it be done?) she’ll stumble out, off-gait as a horse plunging toward water, back to the city of millions, furious as bees.