A Pessimist’s Notes on “Brute Strength” by Emily Skaja
When I am dead & buried, do not remember
the bull-whipped woman with bitten nails & frayed hair,
whose last breath was not an exhale but
some choked-on worry pushing its way through collapsing lungs.
Instead, remember the girl—
running on thin legs & scraped, bug-bitten knees,
arms flailing like flags at full-mast,
letting out a battle cry, pelting boys with bricks of mulch
flecked with her own blood.
Girl who brewed spells of red mud & tap water, who told
horror stories to the violets, who was
never the baby, never the protected, always the aggressor.
Where did she run off to? Dead
Since 7, now joined in the ground by a strange woman
in a white dress she would not recognize as anything but a web of