What Girls Stow Under Their Pillows

by THEODORA BISHOP

Moonstones, friendship bracelets, & bloodied Band-Aids Sometimes letters addressed to the dead, the names mined while lunching in churchyards                turkey on rye atop the plot                for Mary Jean, beloved sister,                your wings were ready                but our hearts were not What girls stow under their pillows are locks of traded hair                               black for Becky chestnut for Cassandra When the pond freezes over the last to arrive is ordered to strike its surface with her fist because what girls stow under the ice become the words they hoard from the one charged with pummeling the pond                          ice cringing to a mouth wide enough for the girls to fit & afterward the girls licking the chosen one’s knuckles                          the victim’s fingertips                                                        her lips blue as her knee-highs required by the diocese                               the girls at the dinner table dropping their spoons because under their pillows they have stowed evidence                         forget baby teeth & fairies Bind a girl by the ankles & wrists                                       dump her into the pond & she’ll sink to the bottom because you know what happens to girls

THEODORA BISHOP is the author of the novella On the Rocks (Texas Review Press), winner of a 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Award, and a chapbook of short stories, Mother Tongues, winner of The Cupboard’s 2015 contest. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Prairie Schooner, Arts & Letters, and Short Fiction (England), among other journals, anthologies, and exhibits. She serves as Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast and Fiction Editor for Big Fiction.