Committee Work

The football players,

            when accused of raping

the drunk girl, said she

            had approached them,

pulled their pants down

            and sucked their penises

into her mouth.

            One claimed he was unable

to achieve an erection

            despite her efforts.

Another felt inappropriate,

            zipped up, and walked out.

One was seen behind her

            with his pants down,

but none could say

            whose fluids were found

in her vagina

            or her underwear or her ass.

The school had no interest

            in DNA. The committee

closed the case, and

            the football players went on

to an undefeated season,

            trampling team after team.

They ran joyfully,

            faster than the opposition,

faster even than all

            the drunk girls who rush

to their knees, who bend over

            pool tables and couches,

no longer content

            to just ask for it,

no, those bitches

            reach out to take it.

Francesca Bell

first appeared in River Styx

forthcoming in Bright Stain (Red Hen Press, 2019)

YOU CAN CALL ME MA'AM, for the ladies at Laguna Beach Lit Fest!

YOU CAN CALL ME MA'AM, for the ladies at Laguna Beach Lit Fest!

Having turned forty-two, having menstruated
lo these thirty years, most often
on my hands and knees or curled, drugged
and sobbing, around the hot water bottle.
Having borne three children and been stretch-marked
and bloated beyond recognition. Having pushed
those babies from my womb as each skull crowned
like live coals against my perineum
and lodged for good measure up my ass.

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