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.