November 30, 2011

Jessie Carty

Habit Forming

Becky was a scab picker,
her skin: white divots.

On the bus no one sat with her,
saying "lice ridden" "rat bitten"

"so poor she shares a bed
with her brother" which was

somehow such a bad thing.
I'd sit in the back of the bus

where the older kids played
Truth or Dare; where, behind

raised jackets, I touched
a boy's pale penis; where

whispers started about what
you would do for a quarter—

voices that began to say
chew your hair, your nails,

the inside skin of your lip.


Jessie Carty is the author of three poetry collections but she also chisels away at prose in between teaching at RCCC in Concord, NC. You can find her taking photos and editing Referential Magazine or blogging at

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