I move in the quiet
under the white sun, over pavement that is hot underfoot,
feeling the blisters sting my heels as I wait for the evening.
from inside, comes a growl—can’t remember my last meal.
when the sun sets, I walk under the black and white sky.
I rage in the quiet
thinking of John in charge, giving the assignments;
he caressed my baby, his long nails repulsive on her hair.
that hold on our loved ones keeps us on the streets.
but if hate was enough to rid us of, he’d be expunged.
I tremble in the quiet
as I stand at the corner, hike up my hem, and wait.
my legs are beautiful, or so men tell me—much too often.
I see my baby’s face as the battered car rolls up.
not the dull-eyed man who frowns and licks his dirty teeth.
I hope in the quiet
but he nods and I open the rusty door of my newest cage.
Orion is overhead, watching like a faithful sentry in the sky.
“watch over my sweet baby,” I beg him in shame.
his sword stays sheathed but he watches me, bristling.
I yearn in the quiet
as the car slowly crushes the litter under the bridge,
seeing others, their eyes shuttered under moving bodies.
the door opens and I swing my legs out into the night.
they are strong; why aren’t I strong enough to use them?
I stand in the quiet
and hear Orion tell the moon to shatter the damp clouds.
it reflects on the river; its brilliance exposes
the crisp, black and white truth in stark relief.
Go ahead, push that drunk off your body.
I whisper in the quiet
and breathe in as my baby’s sweet hair seals my senses.
she can’t learn what I’ve paid in losing my innocence.
she is soft and fresh, untouched by men’s rough flesh.
while I am ruined by scenes of pain that can’t be erased.
I cry in the quiet.
while hands fumble and stop; I won’t yield to him.
one victory; I will learn to survive this perdition.
Orion knows well the pain that cripples my mind,
how its chains form giant links of desperate fear.
I rise in the quiet
as Orion overlooks the scene, un-sheaths his sword.
I regard the man lying at my feet, his vile lust not sated.
feet pound the stairs; Orion’s blue legion arrives.
the moon hands us our freedom as it retreats.
I exhale in the quiet.