Not Yet a Woman
by Marcel Duclos

Tired red brick projects
shadow windows gray in early light.
She longs for a room
a stronghold to hide her secret
a quiet inner villa
streets away from mother and
violent villain who stole
her dozen years
jealous of the bold, sweet, smitten boy next door.

In her need at midday
The girl dreams
of lakeside reeds
of yellow miniatures
clusters blushing tranquil abundance

adorning new moist earth.

Walking litter-gutted streets
beneath the screeching, screaming El
she pictures Southern Comfort in her mother's trembling hand.
She hears the trenchant tongue.
Who will want your waddling kind?

The burdened girl views herself in an oil-slick puddle
a mangled elf
a ragged carnival prize
tossed across the third rail
doomed beyond the tiled subway platform
abandoned alongside a plethora of run-aways.

the fancied villa will not do.
In revolt
it is a room bolt-and-chain armored she seeks.

Editor’s Note: This poem is a collage of the poet’s life as a psychotherapist. He
writes in honor of his many patients.  

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