The Local Voice

Poem: “One-Way Song” by Elizabeth Tettleton


“One-Way Song”

Not the flyers brightly placed, suspiciously

conspicuous for all to observe. Not her eyes

smeared with shadow, base –

faint hues of a rainbow

wanting to burst. Not the blood from the swing they’d punch

as he skirted by, not the horizontal cuts she’d draw

across her pale white wrists. Not the words

on his wall, scribbles on a pink

high school bathroom stall, nor

the terror their voices promised. Not the chanting

threats nor preacher’s call, not the burning

house or the tortured pet. Not the scorning

words at a class play, nor the spitting

as she boldly smirked, then walked away.

Only the thoughts that keep

the difference strong, the days

long, the love wrong. Only

the selfish heart that sings

in a straight,

one-way song.

-Elizabeth Tettleton

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