L I P S T I C K & O T H E R S E R V I T U D E S
C A N D I C E K E L S E Y
My mother took us
to find a cure for my brothers’
foot worm and my fear
the witch doctor asked me to stand.
I stood and stared
out his window imagining my fingers
in the Kowloon Bay and
my little body thundering off
from Kai Tak airport –
She smiled at the old man
his eyes rolled back like mahjong dice
his invocation to the spirits perhaps.
My two brothers sat
a refuge of odd symmetry.
A catch of duck feathers
in my mother’s hands as we left
she was at peace
and I was never the same.
She obeyed the witch doctor
placing one feather under each of our pillows.
My brothers dreamt of catching
snakes chasing bats and
never went barefoot again.
I ordered my dolls to stand
against the wall while I traced their shapes
with that feather.
I rolled my eyes and
wondered who could hear
the engine of my desire thundering.
Little girls like me
we squeeze the soft right out of ourselves.
©Literati Magazine 1999-2020. All rights reserved.