Let me set the scene for you:
we covered our mouths with lace. We didn't know that if you wanted to hide your words, you must first cocoon them in silk, protect it at all costs. This is the method in creating butterflies. Dagger what was left unsaid: temporarily presume it dead. Be still. You don't know who's listening, pressing an eye against the peephole. I used to watch momma and daddy through our front door's peephole, until one day momma bundled all her fabrics into her arms & never came back. Girls are worth nothing when they speak up—I learned the hard way. My daddy told me to get out, said I wasn't worth the hassle. He must've gotten sick of insulting me, so I fled. Went out at twilight & never returned, hacked all my hair off with safety scissors, left it in our recycling bin. I'd never learned the word abuse. There was no word for our pain, only bruises & birthday wishes. Momma always said certain girls needed heaven when braiding my hair, the girls who knew sadness best. The sadness that came with rainy nights & flooded anthills, or traces of a dried up river, old fish bones, by my elementary school. This is how the world came to be, she muttered, clumsily grasping for loose strands, painfully pinning them. And you cannot change it. But I sought out my greatest trick: the one where I make myself disappear, uncover the heaven where girls can be butterflies, where no one can stop us. I'll hunt all the lace in the universe to keep this trick alive, make a disguise out of sorrow, something to be cherished.
At the End of Summer
loosely inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
we tried to run away, created bonfires out of dried leaves as a diversion. It didn't work—twilight in Baltimore hides nothing. Our mommas grabbed bony wrists & dragged us home. How inadequate we were back then: full of stories but incapable of creating one. The day the moon fell, we ate grits & bacon, ironed our best Sunday clothes for the occasion. Church bells clamored during the morning service, but we gripped broken glass & held our bloody hands together, palms up. The newspaper kiosks tell us we will all meet a terrible fate one day & that could be today. On these streets we declared ourselves blood sisters whenever we skinned our knees on cobblestone. To be met with a terrible fate of ripped tights, the ones our mommas patched up again & again, told us not to worry about anything—they'd fix it. We watched old movies together in the dark, ones starring Rita Hayworth, even though we were too young to understand romance. We were taught the myths of men who loved their women to the moon & back, but our daddies threw everything they could—oranges, ornamental clocks, butter knives—at us. They weren't leading lovers, clichés we dreamed of. Before leaving in the morning, we kissed our mommas' cheeks, dodged the oranges that splattered against faded wallpaper, before we left. As long as it lasts, we can fix anything here. That's what we always told ourselves. As long as have more time, we can do anything we set our minds to & it'd never be the same.
is a multimedia artist and writer. She has had work appear in Barren Magazine, Hobart, DIALOGIST, Rust + Moth
and The Shore
, among others. She is the Co-Editor in Chief at both Mud Season Review
and Juven Press
, and reads for EX/POST Magazine