Two Girls, Both Alike in Dignity, Broke into Different Houses

A is for a dirty girl,

Banished from the

Church, a

Devil’s child,

Excluded because of an unlawful



Girls like her have no place here. They belong in

Hell, with the other dirty girls. Not in heaven like

I—we, the members of the church yet unmarried and still abstinent, do.

Jesus, hear us. Save the

Kids, keep them pure and out of temptation.


Low and behold, she’s back, the dirty girl, screaming curses.

Mother Mary above, she yells. Mothers cover children’s ears.

Never, she yells. Heaven? Never.


Oh, God, a mother says, and is suddenly

Pierced with sharp eyes turned, from the once-

Quiet girl, to her.


Red cheeks on the girl and the mother, the

Same no matter how different; an anger flush or an embarrassed irony.

Tiny sins, so easily picked out, even if hidden

Under years of righteousness.

Verbal curses on the ears of both, numbing their minds to the meanings of the

Words. They were both

Xenoliths among their

Young peers, but took different paths. One the

Zebra, blending in, the other ostracized.


This poem is about: 
My community


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