You misunderstand me, mother.
You, who do not soften into me.
I’ve always wanted to say that to you.
Now that I have, I must remark on lesser
things: our pinky nail grows straight and
long and white. Our hands sun-spot
and etch. Our faces seize and sink
a little even as we grow plump. We were
always plump. I, eight years old, standing at the edge
of the dock holding onto you like a
stiff barbie holds onto another
barbie, whoever is next to her. Why do
you play pretend? Why won’t you soften into
me? All of your hard bones creaking as
you finally relax, finally allow them to
bear your weight.
Lily is a creative writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has been published in Rio Grande Review (BLACKOUT Spring 2021) and Ignatian Literary Magazine (Fall 2022) and is forthcoming in Ghost City Review. She lives in NYC, where she studies to be a secondary English teacher.