For Erin

I remember you different, and that

is how my memory keeps you. It was a stretch

before the men we chose knew us—when your hair

rappelled in sloppy knots to your waist. The years

your mother thought we were lovers, always

balled up with joints and cupcakes

while The L Word labored on.

Even now, in nostalgia,

going to Slaughter’s isn’t the same. There are no

hangover breakfasts over monster biscuits.

No couch guys, shit-covered walls or you

making French toast in our fall apart kitchen.

Do you know,

you’re the only person who’s never

been cruel to me? How strange

that you’re a mother now, that your son

will never know you as anything but—

still, I know. I’ll remember. With the men

you’ll grow old. Your hair will thin even

more, your breasts begin to favor

your mother’s burden. But you and me,

us half-girls, half-women, we’ll grow young

together. Isn’t it lovely, that’s how I’ll always

see you: Girlish and flecked with freckles, not

a whit of makeup, and your smile (glorious)

with teeth that cage our history from extinction.

–Jessica Mehta

Jessica is the author of The Last Exotic Petting Zoo (nominated for a Pulitzer Prize) and What Makes an Always published by Tayen Lane Publishing. She is the founder of MehtaFor, a writing company which serves a variety of clients including Fortune 500 enterprises and major media outlets. She’s a member of the Cherokee Nation and founded the Jessica Tyner Scholarship Fund in 2013 for Native students pursuing an advanced degree in writing. Find out more about Jessica on Facebook.

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