The mind has many defences, she wrote
in her award-winning essay. Glowing,
she stood in front of her school;
movie tickets her prize.
Painted in shades between girl and woman
she kissed me goodbye with bright red lips
and joined her friends in line.
The mind has many defences, she wrote.
Maybe that’s why, in police reports,
many claimed they’d heard fireworks.
Odd in a cinema; the alternative
too grim to believe.
– Ryan Stone
First published in Poppy Road Review, February 2016