February 26, 2019 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Mihai Surdu photo



Dotty LeMieux







If Cheryl wasn’t leaning, smoking, against the front bumper

of the VW in the Salisbury Beach parking lot,

that summer of 1966,

while Bobby Whittaker and I made out in the back seat,

his Beatle hair flopping into his eyes, charged –

and if the bright summer afternoon wasn’t crowded with moms,

dads, kids –

it might have happened then.


If Wendy and Steve had not tagged along, insistent,

to the party at Harvard’s Elliott House – Steve’s house too

he reminded me —

and then followed us home, me and drunken Tad

that spring of 1967,

and tucked him into bed on the living room couch

covered by an Indian print bedspread,

and sat on the floor making small talk until he was sound asleep,

his snores full of beer and lost desire,

it might have happened then.


If I hadn’t learned enough self-defense to know

how to sound tough when I wasn’t feeling it,

and didn’t have that confidence born of being right –

if not in the right place –

when the dead-eyed man who stopped

for the girl hitchhiking on Mass. Ave at twilight

reached across the front seat and grabbed at my breast,

I wouldn’t have shouted “You fucking pig!”

loud enough for people in other cars to notice,

and if I hadn’t grabbed for the door handle

when his eyes came alive with hate,

and tumbled right out onto the still-hot pavement,

it might have happened then.


And if I hadn’t grown wary and distant

and been lucky –

mostly that, dumb luck, kept bad things at bay,

most of the time –

it might have happened anyway.


But it didn’t. I made it.

So far.






Dotty LeMieux

Dotty LeMieux has published three chapbooks: Let us not Blame Foolish Women, Tombouctou Press; The Land, Smithereens Press; and Five Angels, Five Trees Press. She published the literary journal, The Turkey Buzzard Review for several years in the late 1970’s, early 80’s. Currently, she lives in northern California with her husband and two dogs where she practices law and helps progressive candidates with their election to office.

Dotty is proud to have been a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Editor review


  1. Jamal April 07, at 20:30

    Yeah you Rattled them alright now.


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