* Warning: this poem contains brutality 

Veronica & I languished
like bougainvillea across her four
poster that summer, the window

unit humming. I carefully braided
her waist-long hair. She’d brush
through strands of my red-blonde

tresses. Wispy, they tangled
into thick matted balls so knotted
Veronica borrowed her mom’s

dressmaker shears and clipped
them out like removing
an old boyfriend from family

pictures. The Beatles broke
up that year. Manson cranked
his dark music box. In my high

school lanky still-growing
boys got draft lottery
numbers. We were teen

girls & knew we’d never choke
on Agent Orange, never scurry
through the jungle

to a booby trap death. There was
a downside. Whether we were
the color of peeled

birch or wild cherry
many were not nice
to women. At 19, I found

out. Our innocent four-poster
ramblings came to brutal
conclusion after I was bludgeoned

with a boot heel, dragged
to an urban construction
site, raped & left to die.