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 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.