Death Trap: A Sestina

I read a book when I was young
about a barn raising, people
coming together to build something huge
bigger than anyone could build alone
and I wished I had friends
or people I trusted enough.

We never had a barn raising, but close enough
they came to build something for their young
to play on with picture-perfect friends
My father found people
he knew could help while I stood alone
watching them make something taller so huge

our new swingset soon reached the top of the huge
oak tree (maple? pine? I never knew enough
about trees for a desert girl) and if I sat alone
on top of the monkey bars under young
leaves, I could reach up and touch the telephone wire. ‘People
get hurt doing that!’ My dad said my friends

could not come over that day, too many friends
had already been by and it was a huge
effort for my dad to be around all those people
(no fix) and I could never make myself small enough
to convince him I wouldn’t cause trouble. Even when I was young
I could be just as happy alone.

On my swingset made of junkyard pipes I sat alone
on a pink metal trapeze bar, inventing friends
swinging and jumping so hard, I pulled the bars out of young
holes in dry ground, left huge
clouds of dirt until my dad yelled ‘ENOUGH!

Even still, I wanted to climb it again. Get high enough
to touch the wire, maybe tell my friends
about my daring feat, or else go out in a huge
electric shock. ‘She was so young!’

Today I know this: A girl can never have enough friends.
Surrounded by people you can still feel alone.
When you’re young, every moment can seem huge.

Bella Pori


Bella Pori is a law student and poet in Brooklyn, New York. Her poetry can be found in HCE Review, Alternating Current, and FEELINGS, among others.

Her political writing can be found on

© 2018