Tammy Jolene Atha


From Songs of Amy

my mother was twelve
when the neighbor boy
was hired to watch

the neighbor was older
he was sixteen
or fourteen      a really big kid

not mean
              not nice either

there were teddy bears
all over her bed

before her dad left
he brought them home

the neighbor boy was
mean    not nice          

he took her
never been kissed   
never been       touched   
naked    on display      sunken
fingertips into collarbone
the neighbor left

her body behind
on a pile of teddy bears
mean    not nice

her mom threw away
the bears          too old now
she refused to listen
to believe her daughter

my mother was forced
to wash the sheets
by hand           
forced to launder the stains
            to hang dry

white sheets    

Tammy Jolene Atha holds an MFA in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Currently, Tammy lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her partner and is a faculty member at Southeast Community college where she teaches in the English Department. Her work has one an Academy of American Poets prize and has been published in Fiction Southeast. If you saw Tammy on the street you would describe her as "someone who was definitely goth in high school."

JD Thornton