Gina Ferrara
Above Whispers at Twenty-One
Jim tried to kiss you at midnight The cowbell shook small explosions to celebrate You were the stark obvious zebra In a room this is how the year started Cornered you heard confessions The girl he brought says she was raped When? A long time ago she was raped The minutes barely spent since midnight The room a whirl for any confessions Jamaican rum, lime wedges, and tequila to celebrate This is not how you wanted to start A story unfolding, brazen, bold as a zebra Nothing will domesticate a zebra You struggled to hear details of the rape Her voice wouldn't stop after it started The drawl, adrift, then drowning before midnight The novelty of the year celebrated Jim left after without a confession And what of your own confessions You wanted to run unseen in tall grass with the zebras On a silent plain without celebrations Falling as dark stains on white, her narrative, she was raped It was the first hour after midnight And hard to delineate where the stripes ever started A singular wish to finish fast after the start Was it Jim no admission or confession A millennium would not arrive after this midnight Elusive, patterns, black and white wild zebras Slanted stripes, pluralized and singular rape Tonight, nothing to be celebrated Auld Lang Syne segues every year celebrated The possibility and prospects, the synonymous start Jim's date above whispers confided she was raped You listened to her only confession Jim said your stripes reminded him of zebras Running from him and the distance of midnight Spoken tonight, narrow to wide confessions The harem, the herd, black and white zebras Galloping untamed, hooves hitting the terrain at midnight

Gina Ferrara lives in New Orleans where she teaches English. She has published three full length collections and two chapbooks. She is an Elizabeth George grant recipient. Her poetry has appeared in places like The Poetry Ireland Review, The Briar Cliff Review, and Oyster River Pages. She currently curates a monthly reading series called The Poetry Buffet.