In Memory of Brooke Bennett
For my brother
In the village, when the news broke
Of the sixth grade girls, ambushed
In the woods on heir way to school
Raped, tortured, the one surviving
Staggering naked onto the tracks so bloody
The trainmen thought the head to toe red
Was a garment
A local friend, by way of explanation,
Spilled a couple of wisecracks
What makes a woman beautiful?
Jelly Doughnuts and incest.
The boys had been named
Who'd dragged the mattresses into the woods
The guns, the dirty mattresses, the axes
And waited. The whole town knew about these boys.
The whole town knew the families
In which those boys were learning this was sex
The one, in which-the whole town knew
The son practiced on his sister,
With his dad. And that silent
Little girl? I know what she thought, day,
Night; another thing to get used to,
Once, as a child, in a iron lung of dread
The long years of your absence, I told
The priest in confession, the priest Father Welch
Who came to watch the Sox and drink iced tea
He told me to mind my father.
So I put my soul to bed by itself,
So far away that as a woman I still can't find it
And waited to grow up, to be a person
In the Great World, where men would be
As safe as dogs. But brother,
Each line and verse I learned augmented
Those seeds of dread, to one Great Wood
To interlocking branches. Though I often prayed
For you to come home and get me
Looking back, I'm grateful
For what kept you from the whole game the family could play.
Robed, studying to be a priest, you were learning,
Books illumined in gold, the statues of the overarching code, what,
In other words, we both were spared
Your learning on your father's knee. On me.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries