Elena’s Eyes

When she was seven

she was Queen of the Mountains.

The village dogs bowed low

as they lay wisps of feathers,

and warm snake eggs at her dusty feet.

Her belly was often empty

But Elena’s eyes were full of promise.

When she was thirteen

a woman came and spoke to her father.

I don’t want to go papa!

I can eat less, she cried.

This is best, he said.

The woman held her hand tightly,

smiled with big teeth, and led her away.

Elena’s eyes were full of fear.

The woman hissed,

You can’t leave, so don’t try.

Work hard and be quiet.

The men won’t hurt you.

But they did.

They bruised her with beefy hands,

smothered her with fetid breath

and sweaty drunken whispers.

They buried her childhood

beneath their bulk and heavy bodies

with no souls.

Elena’s eyes were full of anger.

When she was eighteen

the lady smiled again with her big teeth.

You go now.

You’re too old to please the men.

You’re too big and eat too much.

I can eat less, the girl whispered.

And Elena’s eyes were… empty.