Marsha About Town


poem by Shannon Wagner


I worry about this town, this corner
of Pennsylvania each time you leave
the house with pink nails and an adopted name
to dress your new sex.

There are boys in our town who eye you
like a deer they’d gut, bleed dry and skin.

I see them coast up next to you
at a red light. The diesel of their truck perfumes
the air, their cherry Skoal spit on the street.

Those boys would follow you home, ignite a cursive
slur in the lawn, take you down with their tools:
crow bar, hunting knife, plumber’s wrench.

They were raised by the book.
They’ll know what to curse you as they tie
a rope around your ankles and drag.