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Monday, September 24, 2018


by Angie Minkin

The first time I was six years old,
walking home from school
with my best friend.
Big boys pulled us into the bushes.
They pulled our panties down
and laughed.
We ran home ashamed,
too afraid to tell.

When Ann and I were nine,
an older kid in the neighborhood
convinced us to join him
on his porch swing.
I remember every touch -
creepy, scary, so wrong.
That time we told.
Buzz was sent away.
His mother screamed at us.
We moved soon after.

Fast forward a hundred slights,
a thousand catcalls,
a million looks behind me
when I dared to walk alone at night.

Stop at 25:  our safe Iowa town, so friendly -
no one ever locked the door.
indescribable chill of a stranger in my bedroom,
pulling the sheet off my naked body,
my boyfriend right next to me.
I was nightmare frozen, voice strangled
Dan lost his voice screaming as he chased the intruder.

I knew it was Ben, our landlord’s strange nephew.
it was dark—I couldn’t prove it.
The cops didn’t believe me.
Why was I on trial?
I check all doors carefully now.

Stop at 27:  eager to start my new career
teaching disturbed kids in East Palo Alto
The day before school started,
the assistant principal showed me the supply closet.
Yes, he got me in a clinch.
What a stupid cliché.
I forced my arms up
as he forced his tongue in my mouth.
I didn’t know his name then.
I’ll never forget it now.

Stop at 32:  working in a Mission District office
a vagrant licked the large window
masturbated while staring right at me.
I pressed charges.
The jury found reasonable doubt
after I was grilled on my past.

Now a woman past my prime,
the cloak of invisibility is comforting
But the bile in my throat
will never completely vanish.

Angie Minkin’s poems have been published in The Pangolin Review and Vistas & Byways. After years of working her left brain, she is happily rehabilitating my right brain with poetry, yoga, and dance.  Minkin lives in San Francisco’s blue bubble where she takes poetry workshops with mentors Diane Frank and Kathleen McClung.