But No One Says Anything


United States
42° 39' 30.24" N, 71° 8' 13.2504" W

She comes to school with rings of bruises around her eyes
Her hair looks like birds have nested in it
But no one says anything

Her clothes are dirty and torn
She rarely speaks
Her face reminds me of a book with no writing
The right lens to her glasses has a crack that never gets fixed

Skinny as a toothpick, Janna stands looking up at her father,
like he’s a leopard ready to pounce, as he picks her up from school
But no one says anything

A dark man with curly black hair
“Let’s go Janna”, he says, grabbing her by the wrist
“I don’t want to go”, she says, her eyes shot with fear
But no one says anything

He pulls her along with him
as she stares back at the other children longingly,
their perfect braids, brand new Gap jeans, and pea coats
Their mothers greeting them with warm smiles,
baby siblings held in their arms

Her father opens the small green mini van’s scratched door
and helps Janna in with a little too much force
He slams the door and speeds away as tears fall down Janna’s face
But no one says anything

The next day Janna comes to school with a chipped tooth,
a bubbly fat lip, a welt the size of a snow globe on her left leg
One finger nail on each hand seems to be missing
But no one says anything

Her knees tremble as her eyes drift right and left,
as if a rhinoceros has just bolted out of its cage,
coming right for her
Her eyes drift over the classroom clock,
while she listens to the tick-tock, tick-tock

It gets closer and closer to 3 o'clock,
and her soft blue eyes fill up with tears
But no one says anything

Her father greets her,
the same events of yesterday take place today
Just like every other day
But no one says anything

Guide that inspired this poem: 


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