Ripped Off

Huck Finn, 2011

Graphite scrapes through it.
A word cut from another world,
dragged from ours, dangling
like a cut of fresh meat strung up
a dirt road, baiting yet another generation
of Crows. No, don’t look at it! Don’t smell it!
You are not allowed to
see it!
read it!
speak of it!

And so today, this tacked-in label itches
against the century-old context—
a washed uniform in a still-filthy war.
A white and western riposte—
privileged reinvention, new construction
over battlefields.

This slave word does not belong here;
it bounces off the magnolias, the sycamores
through the fingers of two spirits
who can now run and play along that Mighty.

But that war has not vanished;
privileged fingers still reach.
They still need to grab hold of it—
chain it—cram it in the white space,
dulling a sharp point—

which in turn, enslaves us all.

about the author
Gina Marie Giardina is a Public Affairs Specialist at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and is an adjunct instructor at local colleges. She holds a Master of Arts in English with a specialty in Composition and Rhetoric as well as a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from Wright State University. Her academic work has been published in journals out of Boston College and Washington State University, and her creative writing has appeared in Stepping Stones, Flights, The Fogdog Review, and of course, Mock Turtle Zine. In her free time, she enjoys escaping to local places to read or to write, shooting hoops anywhere with a decent basketball net, and playing fetch with her cutie dog, Watson.