Loyal Lies

Bruise thick as a man’s fist

blossomed on her cheek,

a blue-violet pansy, fading into black.

A bad block in karate class, she explains.

She was careless.

Angry red burn across her forearm,

winding vine swelling.

Spilled coffee as she rushed to get ready for work.

She laughs at how sleepy she is in the morning.

Splintered, splinted forefinger,

a once-straight tree, bending beneath the fury of the storm,

shattered by the lightning’s blast.

Dropped a free weight at the gym, she claims.

Knowing we don’t believe her, she tells us anyway.

once we were delicate flowers, fragile pastel blooms, and violence was

carefully hidden beneath high-necked dresses and long lacy puffed

sleeves, until modern thought and women’s liberation signaled the

tearing off of layers of fragility to reveal the strength that had

withstood generations; yet now the silent lies have given way to vocal

ones, and though patterns have been broken, others have stayed the

same; it seems we have not achieved as much as we had thought


M.A. Mohanraj

November 25, 1992