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Mary Ann Honaker


It was always about power.
You wouldn't find me in skirt scattered
by gale or flurry, fingers fluttering
to hold down wild hems.

I needed you to be able to hear
my heavy approach, storm-like, 
my boots stirruped by bullets, clattering
with Spencer's silver sword and skull

earrings, inverted pentacles.  Real men
wear black and silver, 
said a t-shirt,
and so did I.  God would not command me,
nor opinion, nor the squeals and smirks

of the bug-shy girls, batting away
both unwanted bees and wanted boys.
You're not like most girls, a boyfriend
commended me, and I was proud. 


Years later my ex-husband and I
found a thirteen year-old girl,
punk-spiked bleached hair, chains
and put-on toughness, sobbing

lopsidedly out of the Commons,
silver-plated belt undone, shirt
on backwards.  They stole my music.
I thought they were my friends.

We coaxed her to hand over her cell
and called her mother, who met us,
asking, Has she been raped?  
All we could say: We don't know.


I brought an underweight, awkward friend
to a party once: two beers in, she stumbled
and slurred; three, she went to bed
with a crush.  I was disgusted; I didn't think

anyone could get drunk that fast.
A woman who is any kind of woman
would have called someone, taken her home.
But I wasn't any kind of woman, was I?


The gutter-punks who hung around
the Commons condemned only one person:
not the thirty year-old man who bought
the booze, or the street kids who stole from her,

but the thirteen year-old girl.
She couldn't handle her alcohol,
they sneered, while the teen girl
who lives on in my chest shouted:

She's thirteen years old!
She's thirteen years old! 


I, ever rational, handled my alcohol.
I took what I wanted; sovereign,
stoic.  I marked my boundary lines.
I was one of the guys.

So why this sign of his intrusion:
a single strand of his hair
woven into the teeth of my zipper?
The hours of the night fogged over.

Mary Ann Honaker is the author of It Will Happen Like This (YesNo Press, 2015). Her poems have appeared in 2 Bridges, The Dudley Review, Euphony, Juked, Off the Coast,Van Gogh’s Ear, The Lake, and elsewhere. Mary Ann holds a BA in philosophy from West Virginia University, a master of theological studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, and an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University.