Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five



We collect slights like sparkling dots
of mica we used to mine as kids
hoping to get rich, to buy a black
horse and gallop in tandem, away.
Thinking up code words for our breasts
so boys wouldn’t know we were talking
about them. Bust, chest, you know,
speaking with our eyes, hiding.
Arms crossed over hard nipples,
traitors; ours. Not so afraid as furious
at boys who’d jump out from corners
and squeeze our crotches, then roar away,
giggling. Or look up our dresses from under
the slide and announce the color of our underpants.
It was scary back then when your father hurried about
slamming down windows so he could punish you all
and I’d gallop down the street past dark hedges,
slapping my bottom to make my legs go faster.

Sally Pfoutz is the author of two novels, Missing Person and Red-tail. Her work has appeared in élan magazine, The Washington Post, Country Magazine, the anthology Grace & Gravity, and various literary magazines including: Phoebe, Fugue, and Hot Metal Bridge She received the 2001 Alice Abel National Literary Award and has a B.A. in English Literature from American University. She and her husband, the artist Mark Pfoutz, have two grown daughters, Erin and Nicki. They live on a farm in Virginia.