Things My Mother Gave Me [That I Did Not Ask For]

shoulder pads
a cigarette burn on my left shoulder
her middle name
a battle with me at the middle
second helpings of mashed potatoes
too little pride to succeed, too much to ask for help
how to win Monopoly
how to cheat
how to cheat the system
Nintendo 64
an excuse for asking:

“Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Really, are you sure?”


a crush on David Bowie
crushed ice from the refrigerator
Days With Frog and Toad
days spent on the road

♫ One, two, three, four, five /
Everybody in the car, so come on let’s ride ♫ 

one, two, three, four, five…years of silence
someone to mythologize:

Mother Medea in a cropped top
grooves humbly as any green girl through
her ruined lot, taking stock
off shelves at the Stop n’ Shop
just for shits and giggles.

lessons in astrology
enough clairvoyance to see beyond the tip of my nose
lessons in cosmetology:

“A girl can always use more scrunchies!”

homemade Halloween costumes
how to change my mask without changing my costume
how to dance the Macarena
Kraft macaroni and cheese
Fifty bucks in government-subsidized dairy
and bottles of Similac formula
little-to-no tits, but nice nipples
sensitivity to mosquito bites
the last bite of her dessert
Strawberry Shortcake and Cabbage Patch Kids

♫ Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man /
Bake me a cake, as fast as you can

a good man to call Uncle

Pat it, prick it, and mark it with B /
Put it in the oven for baby and me ♫

a better man to call Daddy
a promise:

“I promise to be better.”

or two
“I promise the zoo.”

or three
“I promise birthday cards.”

a birthday.


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