Jen with a perm
Pandora’s Box
by Jennifer Fliss

It remains inside you. You are hollow and it makes your jaw ache
And you don’t say it out loud
and you lie when they ask
and you make it seem like everything is
and that the officer is crazy that he is even asking

And every night you get nervous that you’ll hear the buzzer
and you were just getting to sleep.
And you hear them in the hallway
and then they come to your room
and when they turn the lights on you rub your eyes and say “huh”
but you know why they are there
and you act surprised
and lie some more

And the next night it comes back at you
and you are just tired and he is getting really loud.
So you run into their room and jump on the bed
and you yell back
And he says where are you getting this from and who have you been talking to?

And you say no one.
You’re wrong you’re wrong you’re wrong.
And you scream until your voice is weak and choppy
and your tears and your snot are mixing together
and you wipe it on your arm

And she says nothing but she’s crying too.

Another night he comes to say goodnight only it’s not a good night at all.
And he won’t leave
and you take a shower with the water so hot it feels cold
and you change your sheets and you try to sleep

But you don’t sleep
and you are tired the next morning
and your eyes are puffy so you are late to school

In class when someone comes to the door sometimes
it is for you because
your little sister has said something peculiar.
You say she’s just a kid
and she doesn’t know what she is talking about
and this is from falling
and I accidentally kicked her
and it’s not true
and they don’t believe you but they send you back anyway.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author as a girl.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The reason I began writing in the first place was to get my emotions and residual stress from my experiences out of me and put them somewhere else; take the onus off of me. Initially it wasn’t intended to greet the world. I never thought, back then, that I would be putting those paper emotions into the world. This will be the piece I have out there about my childhood experiences. I hope that someone reads it and thinks “Yes. Yes, I can totally relate.”

Jennifer Fliss photo 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Fliss is a New York raised, Wisconsin and California schooled, Seattle based writer. She holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and a certificate in Literary Fiction from the University of Washington. Her writing can be found online and in print with publications and websites such as Brain Child, Stratus, Prime Number, Blotterature, Foliate Oak, Praxis, The Belltown Messenger, Daily Mom, Behind the Book, BookerMarks, and The Well Read Fish. Visit her at