BREAKING FREE Wherever she treads on those fringes of town that encompasses her fear – there, it comes upon her; and there: a mean, green shed; gray-roofed; opaque-windowed; its doors semi-ajar – like trappers’ arms. Then, it is in her backyard: hard by the washing-line, the play-square, the kitchen. And then, it becomes the bedroom: the narrowing, gray-green walls pinching the dregs of childhood. Whenever she hears his drunken steps on the stair, she pretends to hide beneath blind blanket; to cover her eyes with stiffening hands. She attempts to scream at her lock-less door – but the larynx goes cold…. Sick Mother lives on pilules and elixirs; is enclosed in a world of sorrows kept hot; of simmering denial. Such helplessness binds her daughter as fast as Father’s abuse.  Night after night, she etches “Liar! Guilty!” on the bruised heart…. Just once, looking in the glass, the girl acknowledges her pair of wigs – blond basins trapping her spring of hair: which she imagines long as a wand, full as a curtain; free … freer than a mountain wind. Copyright © JENNY JOHNSON