Rule 1 in a cold, hard, empty cell

Silent tears sing

an innocent girl to sleep,

but don’t make a sound.

Show no weakness.

That way, no one can hurt you anymore.


I hear it whispering…

…in my head.

The monster.

I can never get away.

Darkness seeps into my skin

and turns my blood black.

Insanity creeps into my mind,

and I hear voices.

There’s no escape from…

The monster…


How can something so beautiful

take away everything you’ve ever loved?



The men come at night.

She numbs herself during the day.

Meth, heroin, cocaine, pills, alcohol.

She can’t remember a life before this.

In fact, it’s all she’s ever known.

She can’t feel what they do to her.

She turns her head away.

Her body shakes.

She’s empty inside.

The men beat her.

She welcomes the pain.

She hears voices sometimes.

People are watching her…

Inside this dirty motel room.

The only escape

is death.


Dear Father,

I still remember

the pain.

I hate you, but

I love you.

I still remember

the fear.

I still live it

especially at night.

I can’t sleep

without pills.

Without them

I wake screaming.

I can’t live

without self-medicating.

These men

they remind me of you.


They do

What you did

to me.

So it’s ok.

It’s what I deserve.



The creator and ruler of the universe.

As in: 7 year old E

prays to God

for her murdered animals,

fearing death

of her loved ones

and herself.


As in: 13 year old E

prays to a God

that doesn’t exist.

“I want to die.”

She cuts herself

to feel.


As in: 15 year old E

prays to God

from the inside of a dirty tent in the woods

surrounded by strangers

her body violated

by men.


She holds hands with the monster.

It won’t let go.

There is no high anymore.

There is only hell.



Things I Learn on the Street

They murder people here.

He said he killed 3 people

I watched a man get shot.

I ran.

Do what the men tell you.

Keep them pleased.

Or you’ll die.

Do whatever you have to do to stay high.

Sell your body.

Don’t run from your pimp.

He’ll find you.

He’ll beat you to death.

There’s no escape.



I like to remember sitting on the concrete in the sun, smoking Newports

talking about life with a 23 year old woman who’s exactly like me.

I like to remember the love I feel when I’m with her, my brother, and her 3 children.

I like to remember those beautiful children and think that they love me.

I like to remember holding them close and spinning them in the air.

I like to remember the way they said my name.

I like to remember those walks me and Alisha took.

I like to remember that their mother says they cry and call my name when I’m gone.

I like to remember the night I stayed over.

I like to remember their sleeping peaceful faces I watched from far away,

smoking a cigarette like I was in a whole other world.

I like to remember the water balloon fight we had before I went away.

I like to remember the day I said goodbye to them.

I like to remember, but it’s easier to forget.



I smoke cigarettes

In my dreams…

A world in flames.

Waking up in a cell…

The world outside my window