The Line Down the Middle
No matter how I work, or cook, or read, or exercise, or listen to music, the little girl won’t leave. Little girl, she never leaves my cavity so she is not my daughter. I can braid her hair but it remains wet from my stomach guts, from the cardiotendons.
Every day I try to bring her something delicious, a cashew for my little girl. I take her to Malibu and we watch the cliffs but she is not my daughter. And we often lose sight — she because of the darkness and I because I forget to close my eyes at the sun. In Malibu the sunset fakes along … and then suddenly a sliver! Neither of us knew — she because she is on the inside, and me because I assume I have forgotten.
I obtained her, I didn’t conceive her. I give her to eat, but I don’t feed her because she is still a little girl and I have her with me whether or not she eats. I set her on Rocko’s bench and he tells me about love, but she doesn’t understand because she is just a little girl. And later when he leaves us she still doesn’t understand.
When she grows the webs on her face, I wipe them off thoroughly, but I don’t take her to the doctor because she is not my daughter. When she falls off the swings and breaks her arm I tie it up but I don’t bring her to the hospital, because she is just a little girl, and it is good to learn lessons, and it is good to hear the things that I hear so that one day — when she rips out — she will shower off the heart meats and go grocery shopping, have a coffee, go sit on some bench in Mount Washington and listen with a smart ear. I fall in love with her sometimes, and her eyes flash, are flat and golden through the insignificant eye rings. Sometimes I try to talk to her about Rocko, and I am so so sorry: I forget for days on end that she is just a little girl.
It was a lonely night in a new place, a hotel maybe, maybe the night I didn’t make it over the Grapevine. There was a time in my life when I couldn’t leave the house very well, and this, little girl, is when I obtained you.
I know that one day she will rip out the sternum line, move my left breast lefter, my right breast righter and she will be free, and she will have long hair, and she will be so smart, so much smarter than all the other little girls. But that will be a smooth pass. And she will tie my body up but not take me to the hospital because, she will say, and she will be right: it is good to ghost through the rooms in the house, imagining little breakfast scenes, imagining giving a water birth in the tub.
Am I a bad mommy? I am time, time time time. This thing you’re looking for — check to the left. My happy will leaves you with water. All these cravings she will regret them or she will crack open, reveal the dark rich mud and force a green thing towards the sky. And only then, darling girl. Oh I will know when it happens. I will be there, tossing things, invisibly but with noise and gusto: hurling your books and sneakers from side to side to side.