What They Do Not Know Is
That a shut bedroom door offers no protection
That she spies mummy’s necklace of black-blue fingerprints
That she’s stinky-knickered cause the Frightened seeps out
That whispered times-tables help her push back the dark
That she’s learning her worth and what to expect
That the brighter her smile, the emptier her eyes
That the playground bullies sniff out her loss
That she shares what little she has to be liked
That her pencil sharpener blade exhales lines on her thighs
That she only feels real watching rivulets in red
That her life’s mapped out as one-way streets, dead ends
That she will love them just the same, and forget how to cry.
Stephanie Hutton is a writer and clinical psychologist in the UK. She has published her short-form work online and in print. In 2017, she was nominated for Best of the Net. Find her at stephaniehutton.com.