Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 55
strawberry moon, 2024

Featured artwork, Lost for Words, by Andrea Damic

new works

Amanda Chiado

You Too, Will Be Sacrificed

The teenagers encircle me dressed like wolves, rabbits, and lop-sided dogs. I kneel and crush the moss with my bruised knees. The forest swiftly silences when the biggest boy wearing suspenders, shows the knife. “If we get a little taste of her, our parents won’t hurt us anymore,” he says.
I am the softest girl at school, easy to slice, but hard to kill. My mother sent me out into the world like recycled angel wings and when my father exhaled his last breath, I became another dark lullaby.
The grizzly waits guard at the edge of the forest. The youngest boy’s job is to sing him a song that keeps him growling. Today, he sings a song about The Titanic. It was sad when that great ship went down.
The gang fills their pockets with forest stones. Then, they place pinball machine quarters around me. I am their silver goddess among the black brush. The girl with the Mickey ears says, “Good thing you wore your red socks so they can identify your beauty.”
The boy with the owl mask, rocks back and forth because he’s thirsty for the marrow in my wishbones. The fat suspender-king slaps him on the back of the head. “She belongs to all of us,” he says.
We can hear the echo of the other children from the block riding their bikes in circles in fits of ice-cream truck laughter.
The gang is required to hum in the wake of my rebirth. The boy who sings has a presidential tie. Owl boy shakes his wrist of bells. They start. Before they slice my palms like tart pomegranates, I straighten my pig tails and bury my lips in the coffin of my teeth.

Amanda Chiado is the author of Vitiligod: The Ascension of Michael Jackson (Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry and short fiction has most recently appeared in Rhino, The Pinch Journal and Barren Magazine. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart & Best of the Net. She is the Director of Arts Education at the San Benito County Arts Council, is a California Poet in the Schools, and edits for Jersey Devil Press. www.amandachiado.com