A sublime collaboration between poet Rowen Jones and illustrator Marianna Ostrowska.
"he only hits you if he likes you"
what age does that stop being sweet
and starts being something you talk about with a group once a week
or when they nod heads and cross-check
isi your mam’s love or your dead friend?
or your traumatic adolescence?
cold tiles on spread thighs
"it's not your fault"
i'm head up, down in agreement
you're uncomfortable and
"sorry he did that"
so now when i walk down the street
i walk fast but
don't make it obvious
take. deep. breaths
cos dogs can smell fear
i'm weighed down
my volume’s down
so i’m even more aware
that my surroundings are
overwhelmed by watching eyes
i am 13 again, small and afraid
my middle finger raises to the car and it
makes no difference either way
i’m still afraid.
watching eyes are metronomes ticking to their entitled beat and i pray to god they don’t
focused on me,
loud without speech and
i long for the day i walk out the door
and those eyes won't be there
Editor: Amber Patterson