Free the Girl

I usually want to look away,
but this time,
I can’t.

The lights are on
and my alibis are
nowhere to be found.

Just me with a flashlight
not making a sound
and her, just a whimper of a girl.

She didn’t have a choice.
But now she does.


She bellows to the script of the night
“Take it back; I’ve a new story now.”

But first turn the page,
and hold what was there.

Rage: the thorn in her flesh.

The indescribable flip of a switch
inside a wild body,
a dropped expression
feral in its pain.

Like a runaway train, this need for destruction
is fueled and refueled, a reordering
of reality to mirror her spirit—
the girl whose power was removed.

A root grew in darkness,
a cancerous notion
like a trail of dominoes
tripping over themselves:

You could never mean more than sexual transaction.

The independent girl
sank hard to the bottom line,

shut her mouth,
clasped her hands,
closed off to the light.

The four walls should have been her bedchamber,
but they changed into iron rods of self-doubt and pity.

“Learn to love it,” they said.

“Try and make it pretty” she thought,
as her small palm sought heat from the stone.

Eventually the darkness closes her eyes,
and she forgets what it means to want out.

Every once in a while, a window
and she screams like the air might turn into a rope
she can cling to and leave,

find a hope with no catch,
no caveat to take away her name.

Perhaps now she knows why she wants to escape:
to be the only one who actually has a say.

Kelsi Folsom holds a B.M. in Voice Performance and has traveled all over the world participating in operas, musicals, jazz bands, and choirs. Now a mom to “three under three”, she currently resides in San Antonio, Texas. When she is not putting on her best Cherubino while changing dirty diapers, you can find her perfecting gluten-free recipes, *gasp* reading, enjoying a nap, or trying to make sense of her life over french press. Kelsi writes here.