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Tuesday, May 24, 2022


by Marianne Gambaro

I guess I can’t blame them
for feeling the way they do.
They weren’t there.
They didn’t see your ashen face
against the blood-soaked
laundry service sheets
on your dorm bed.
I wish I could remember your name—
Karen, I think,
or maybe Caryn—
your whitebread family
was pretentiously middle class
so would have spelled it differently,
not at all like that boy
who knocked you up.
Did he disappear fast when you told him!
You were a quiet girl, younger
than the rest of us freshmen,
smarter too,
with all your advanced placement classes.
I think it was your roommate who took you
to that bogus doctor in Pennsylvania,
who stayed with you
and finally called the RA
when she couldn’t stop the bleeding.
You never did come back to the dorm.
Did you come back to school?
Did you even live?
No one talked about you after you left,
at least not above a whisper.
I guess I can’t blame them
for feeling the way they do now.
But maybe you can.

Marianne Gambaro’s poems and essays have been published in print and online journals including Mudfish, CALYX, Oberon Poetry Magazine, Pirene's Fountain, Avocet Journal, Snowy Egret, and The Naugatuck River Review. She is the author of Do NOT Stop for Hitchhikers (Finishing Line Press). She lives in verdant Western Massachusetts, with her talented photographer-husband and two feline muses.