three girls who couldn’t be alone: some dirty seething tracks in our family line that crumpled us and hooked us on the backs of conquerers for survival. you say I am a free woman but you wonder when the husband’s coming (as we know those tend to wait just around the corner.) the free woman now in the family and finally I have eyes to see, a life spent hiding my head (despite its size) between the thighs of creature comforts to distract from the very illness of just waking. you say I’m independent but depending can keep a person breathing for a while longer if the tank’s still got juice and the tracks don’t run too deep. only me to rely on: a bottle of iodine and a whole lot of gauze to get me through another night as creature comforts just don’t cut it anymore. time better spent on a threadbare single mattress with a hand in your pants and a distant memory of central heating. look out there, see those mountains? men go trekking there alone and do it fine and well. I’d go but it’s too risky for a woman alone so I’ll just keep to this mattress and cooking for one and wearing my underwear inside out because laundry can’t be done for another two weeks (shower wash on a dime with your feet while standing and hang-dry on a flammable heater.) even the best of laundry machines don’t always get the job done, you can’t erase a bleach stain or pretend you weren’t bleeding. the iron stays with you and so do the scars.