In times like these, to have you listen at all, it’s necessary to talk about trees.
Nine by twelve equals a Middle-Eastern girl,
five by seven equals American,
five by four equals Hispanic,
five by two equals Asian.
When another pimp asks
for a baker’s dozen,
he wants more—
a mix that can give
good head, swallow and take
Girls, in the back of a truck
ankles shackled by trackers.
We’ve heard of the place between two trees:
an old barn whose wood roof droops
after the pounding of an ice storm.
Beyond, two trees that stand like soldiers
that guard the dark, a small room.
A landslide of a mattress leans against a wall.
Nine by twelve’s fourteen year-old face disappears
into a rusted spot on the fabric.
Pubic hair stubble scratches skin.
Balls slap her over again.
He flips her around pushes her head down.
She bites. He bleeds.
Branches knock on the window.
Who will talk about these trees?
Melissa F is a native New Yorker. Currently, she is working on her second collection of poetry. She teaches classical poetry in a high school in Queens, New York, where she also serves as assistant principal of the English department.