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daylight as erasure

Jill Roberts

Ross, CA

The Branson School



on the other side of the pavement sits a school

bus filled with the chaos of silence and a girl

before she knew the word innocent. still, the clock

ticks at the wrong time.


wrong: meaning the school bus no longer houses children

wrong: meaning i can’t catch ghosts anymore

wrong: meaning the world has lost once again


you wanted, so desperately, something of your own and so,

you taught me that i was a body—no—your body,

with no home. you see—

because of you, i can join the exclusive club

of girls who know the daylight as darkness and the cardboard

on the pavement as sugar. tell me,


where did the laughter go? they touch us, broken girls, the way rich

men walk past the homeless: careless. sometimes, i don’t understand

how the sun rises each day, when

the daylight is already gone.

when people ask if he left scars, i want to cry because

of course he did, but i bled more rubbing my own skin raw than

i did from his wounds.


truth: i’m not sure who i am without the emptiness


question: do boys like you enjoy the rhythm of the clock? is that where you find

your order? because all i know is that each time i step into the daylight

all i hear is empty laughter and all i see are broken bodies. theory:

intimacy is a nightmare and the tick-tock of the clock is just an omen. i once

wrote poetry about how all i ever wanted was to be wanted before

i realized that to be wanted meant to be destroyed. lie:


i’m whole.


yet, i like to imagine that one day

i could still be an angel. perhaps my biggest fear is simply

daylight on the horizon: the boys who reprimand us for daring to walk

the world as woman are the ones for whom chaos is a home.


the boys who turn sugar into cardboard no longer deserve my blessings.


theory: one day, my body will be my body again


daylight as exposure is beautifully written, authentic, raw. From its figurative language to its structure, it portrays the pertinent issue of sexual assault with vivid realism as well as maturity.


Jill Roberts is currently located in San Francisco, California and attended the Branson school in Marin. She graduated in 2019 and will be attending NYU Steinhardt in the fall to pursue a career in English education. Her work can be found in Blotterature, 2River, and is upcoming in Canvas Literary Journal

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