Love Note This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 1, 2014
I can spin you glittery from my spine,
hold you tight to my belly
until your small arms, exhausted arms,
are peeled lovingly from my backless gown
(soft palms on soft fabric, the give of my swollen skin)
like bright strands of sweet candy floss
and that might be the day I think I love
you most

but baby. If you come home, all 16
and attitude,
when it's past midnight and you reek
of smoke,
and I meet you at the door with my arms folded, my brow furrowed,
the porch light illuminating you like a halo

I hope with all I am, with all I've seen,
that if you look tired, I'll recognize it
(your cheekbones like knives beneath the bags of your eyelids)
(your skin hung dry on the stalks of
your shoulders)

Let Mama hold her darling girl while the moon shines clean and kind
keeping watch over our uncomfortable
and when your head is chock-full
of dreams you deem too silly to be dreamed
let Mama be the safe that keeps those
wishes close to your hands.

If you pull away, glance over, when your eyes are full of tears
shivering from your eyelashes, the kind
you don't want me to notice
because Mamas never know the right words, and I am no exception there,
I pray to God I'll remember the way I looked at myself
(also 16, also skinny, scared beyond
comprehension of the body that made me)
(thighs and belly and breasts spilt out of the mold I assumed to be perfection)

I won't know what to say, baby, I won't know what to do
(there are no words that evaporate that
kind of pain)
(which is a hard but necessary fact for a writer to remember)
but in whichever misguided attempts
I make at healing you
I hope love echoes, like a bell chiming
in a cavern

dancing from wall to wall, reverberating
the story
of a Mama who thought she couldn't love her girl more than the day she was born
but was proved wrong.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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