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
of kindergarten:

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.


 

Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.