Daughter of my Father

I bite my nails you know
just like my former father
still using my body to pay for his sins.
I will stop this extreme measure
when there is less worry in them
but for now there is something really
quite hopeful in the boldness of their ragged brevity
a sign that I plan to inhabit this body long enough to grown them
back to a respectable length like the hope that is in a bad haircut.

At first, it was only the edges I nibbled, rather like deer
quietly contemplating the rest of the forest.
Those little half-moons hung on for dear life
but they were long since dead,
a casting of their former glory.
Seeking a shelter from the wracking of my nerves
I was lost and hoping I could read their jagged shapes
like the drape of tea levers hanging around the bottom of a cup,
a gypsy to my soul in their noble sacrifice.

Deborah Patterson
Webster Groves, MO


In my family, only my mother swam.
the rest of us watched her from the shore,
it was almost like a weapon.
I grew up with a coldness that went beyond my skin,
it invaded my bones.
I know I can't blame her forever,
but I can blame her for now. it's now that I'm drowning
in the cold. and it's the drowning I'm afraid of.
tsunami sized tears roll down my naked neck.
I remember
the possibility of my heart being ripped open again,
blood flooding allover the place,
and I realize it's the drowning I've been afraid of.

I lay frozen, with fear in my arms,
not even warm like a small stone one wears pressed against
bare flesh.
I am colder than stone.

Maggie Dominic
New York, NY

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