by Emily Capettini
Daphne Walks to Work Alone
She does not tell Fred.
There would be a lecture on the dangers she is courting, a woman alone at night. Lists of the recent robberies, muggings, and cars broken into taped on the fridge. Weekly updates. A collage of well-researched rebukes. Sometimes Daphne wonders if he would map her routes, ask that she put a tracker on her phone.
It used to be a joke, Danger-Prone Daphne, how she was the clumsy one. They would laugh, and she would join them, walking slowly to disguise a turned ankle or twisted knee. She does not know how this has shapeshifted into you cannot possibly know the dangers you face.
Daphne was there with Fred in the haunted mansions, abandoned mines, and skeletal skyscrapers. He was not with her in the stuffy, dim rooms with the cut of rope on her wrists. He was not with her when she did long division in her head, to think of something other than this is the time they kill me.
The walk is cool and quiet, just the soft noises of her flat shoes on the sidewalk, early goldfinches exhaling lungs full of song.
Dangers are not neatly-bound to a place expected. Monsters lay hidden even in daylight. Fall into a trap and everyone will ask you why you weren’t more careful. Fall into their traps and earn yourself a nickname.
Emily Capettini is Assistant Editor at Sundress Publications and Assistant Professor of English at Indiana State University, where she teaches creative writing and literature. Her chapbook, Girl Detectives, is forthcoming from Porkbelly Press later this year. Find out more at emilycapettini.com.