Babette Cieskowski Jacqueline Babbette Jones

What did I look like to you? In my face,

a warning: she is yours to shape,

to choose how to mold into the girl

Oma never approved of, the girl sneaking

out of the house, unafraid

of what’s sloshing onto the shore

beneath her, the man-of-wars waiting

to sting a tender heel. You

could have fashioned a Catholic schoolgirl,

a girl bent on keeping

the dime between her knees

pressed hard between the bones,

the impression of a dead man’s face

pushed into her skin, a sign of victory.

You could have told me to be nicer

to the girls in my classroom, to treat them

like sisters. You were never that girl.

You thought it funny when, as discipline,

my teacher sat me with the boys

to get me to be quiet. I guess she knows

what she wants. You knew your virtues,

knew how to curve your body

into the shape of a woman wanting

more, wanting endlessly, to be

touched. To be given anything,

but a child. In this, we are the same.

I am everything your mother hated

in you, everything you left home for.


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