**This piece has also been published by the 45 Magazine Women’s Literary Journal

Bad girls are made to kneel on walnut shells,
get earrings taken out of their pink ears,
see their mom bend to punchable noise,
a rash of grief sheening on her worn skin.
They are told to apologize for their nasal voice,
the savage hair, the temper, the awakenings.
Beyond the window, their flesh and hunger
go hand in hand, their gait a stemmed whisper.
They make private constellations out of scars,
thin limbs breathing secret warmth into book covers.
The worlds set in their hearts thunder
like a thousand storms, yet no whirlwind
sweeps them away from the two-room flat
where they shrink into themselves. Old souls.

About the Author

Clara Burghelea is a Romanian-born poet. Recipient of the 2018 Robert Muroff Poetry Award, she got her MFA in Creative Writing from Adelphi University. Her poems, fiction and translations have been published in Full of Crow Press, Ambit Magazine, HeadStuff, Waxwing and elsewhere. Her collection The Flavor of The Other is scheduled for publication in 2019 with Dos Madres Press.