Two Poems by Cassandra Dallett


I’d been walking along in the afternoon sun
when his fist hit my sternum
ripped my shirt open.
Reaching up I feel my chain still there.
That’s what he was after
but he’d missed.

I held my shirt closed,
felt a little raped.
He was gone before I could yell, or turn, or run after him
just a blur behind me
standing at Seventh and Mission
fingering my saved Herringbone
the top ripped open on my fly black shorts outfit
printed gold with Egyptians
there was nothing to do, no reason to call,
I lived with the Police
was out on a pass
from The Sherriff’s Work Furlough Program
what could I do but keep walking
Seventh Street is always bad news
the path to the VD clinic
or the police station

I crossed the street by the new jail construction
head to the Swap building.
Wonder at the fact that, though I have nothing
I have something
I‘m kind of homeless these days
since my surrender.
I live in custody but this piece of gold on my neck
a gift from a married man
is something,
someone else wants enough to take off my body
the day’s light cools
I sign in at the deputies’ desk
head back to the ladies dorm
throw my fly ass Egyptian short suit in the trash.

Open Containers

At dusk I’m dreaming country roads and pick up trucks
places I ran away from long ago
my bare feet on the dash
jean cut-offs leave thighs burning dusty vinyl
some dirty white boy behind the wheel gripping me one handed like a beer

Every summer these fantasies come
I close my eyes in traffic
will myself to another time
on a bed of moss under a canopy of green
where rain thunders through the hot build up
not like here where air keeps thickening but stays dry
the grass all yellow parched matchstick
not like here in drought city waiting to combust

I need at least a week with no rules or phones or interwebs
late nights empty bottles roll the floor
crickets fill the spaces warm enough to lie under
the speckled dome above us and he will worship me
hold me weightless in cold spring water
mud between our toes cat tails guarding us

why does everything have to go.

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