I have fear.
I have wild demon eyes,
and at night my mind splits.
God's abandoned me and here she is.
Her legs are always tan, always smooth.
Her fingernails are always long and white, and I notice with my child eyes that she wears lots of rings. She glitters and when I am small she will sneak me cookies to help me finish my milk. Her perfume is her own and she smells good and safe and like Clinque. Clinque Happy. I always liked its orange bottle and its promising name. I look at it with big brown eyes and with little fingers I will touch the name on the glass and wonder if it works.
Momma's in bed. She fainted in the shower he says to me and I hate him. I hate him and I begin to hate her. Everything starts to feel smooth and fake like skin on a mannequin. I sneak into their room when they go out and I stand in front of all her mirrors and look into what she looks into and what she carries in her mind for answers. What has it seen?
Did it swallow her whole? It's taller than me, a big thick sheet set in a beautiful wooden frame that I don't remember ever being anywhere but in the "home" he bought with her and propped up by the window. I wonder sometimes when she's alone if she opens the blinds and stares longingly at both and tries to decide how she will get away. I wonder if as I tuck away into the truck and he drives me to school and I begin to cease existing if she falls into the mirror and lets herself go. Does she shake away the burdens of this life and of her children each morning? Do we find her in her sleep? Does she slip into the mirror like I will learn to do, all molten gold and diamonds, and did all the rings on her fingers help distract him while she stole away? Or was I the distraction, a way for his violent need to leave her alone? I do not know, I do not know, but I do know that I will wear rings and when I get a little older I will stand in front of the mirror. I will pinch and prod and pull and want to be like her with her long legs and her tan skin and I will want to smell like a woman as I walk by. She will tell me it just can't be so, and I will never look like her and I will break inside and my heart will hurt. I will throw up all of my nasty insides that make us different. I will run in the rain and I will heave and hang my head and watch my teeth rot away and when I can I will smoke like she does and I will beat her even in that. I will be wilder, I will be grander, I will make her come back because I will follow her wherever she goes. I am her only daughter and I am wild emotions and breath that reeks and hangover eyes and broken spirits and I ache for a woman who shrinks away and lives in silence. I do not see, but I do know. Quiet even when I am loud, I am her silent soldier who will keep her safe.
"Mommy.. I bought you your perfume."