Do you remember when you were seven years old
and you wore the pale blue t-shirt,
the one with the pony on it?
When you skipped arm-in-arm with your best friend
toward the swing set while classmates pushed
and ran and threw wood chips?
In youth’s soft round whisper you held no belief of betrayal,
sharing secrets and self like broken halves of crayon.
Now you wear practiced smiles at the grocery store,
at church and for the neighbors,
wanting the man that loves you in bed each night
to hold you like a surrogate mother,
a canary of assurance in a wound that will not heal.
When you were a child, you could catch frogs
and release them.
Now intimacy turns blue in the grip of a white-knuckled fist
squeezing until the body falls limp,
lifeless in your hands.