by Sarah Freligh
Month of mold and radiators, month when girls are marched single file into the sneaker stink of the boys’ gym where we’re sized up and partnered off, even the holy roller girls who dance with each other so their pastor daddies don’t show up and spout scripture at the principal. The president himself has called us soft, urges us to exercise. He hikes fifty miles on weekends, waving to photographers, lugging the bad back he shattered in the same war that wounded our fathers. Our fathers are shut doors. Their sons lock us into dance pose, lead us through the four-step and the cha-cha, the dip and swirl. Already they have backseats and refuse to keep secrets. No one is safe. For years, we will break ourselves against their bouldered silence. The president will travel to Dallas. In a corner of the gym, the holy roller girls clutch each other and sway in small circles, eyes shut to the world long after the music stops.
Sarah Freligh is the author of Sad Math, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize. Recent work has appeared in the Cincinnati Review miCRo series, Wigleaf, Fractured Lit, and in the anthologies New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction and Best Microfiction 2019 and 2020.
Photograph of President John F. Kennedy in the limousine in Dallas, Texas by Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News (public domain), courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.