about the author

Angela Dribben is a Southerner in exile in North Idaho until her stepchildren turn eighteen. She attended Bread Loaf 2018 and begins Rainier Writing Workshop in the 2019 cohort. Her work is forthcoming in Mudfish and can be found in The Reader and Evince.

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Two Poems 

Angela Dribben

Pay Attention, I Am

not telling you about the first thing
we bought together, hand painted China.
We couldn’t make a baby like
he’d done three times with his first wife,
the one his mother still invites to Christmas,
so, we bought plates. I told him not to
put them in the dishwasher, hand painted plates are
a fatherless daughter carefully carved into
high cheekbones and beauty dashes across wrists,
fragile, prone to fading.

His mother stayed with us
(It was my fault, I welcomed her
into our home) and put them in the dishwasher.
Now he puts them in too. I asked him why,
restrained the tears as I was taught.
He said, because you did.
No, I said quietly.
That wasn’t me.

Nonconsensual Silence

Petite, thirteen, I fit in his
quartermaster issued laundry bag.
A postgraduate football player, broad shouldered,
he’d throw me over one, haul me
up to his bed in the barracks.
I’d play dead, say nothing.

                    That’s what girls do,
                    speak when spoken to.
                    No point telling anyway, Daddy taught me
                    nobody understands me when I cry.

When he was done with me he’d grin,
a thin grin in a wide head of blonde curls.
I hate blondes.
I’d get back into his bag,
dirty laundry.

He has daughters now.
When someone says Kevin asked about you,
wondered if you’re still that crazy girl.
I can’t stop, I imagine
his daughters as stained white t-shirts.

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