I Come to You on This Ghost Strewn Paper
Tonight after the girls were in bed and I finally got into the shower, I pulled a tick out of the dimpled skin on my hip. It must have grabbed on to me while we played in our friend’s backyard, summer green and humid, practically a forest. I thought the magenta stain was just the sticky remains of a fruit snack the baby had somehow pinned to me like I’d won a badge of merit. But its hexagon insect body, flailing its tiny but mighty legs, stared up at me from my surprised fingertips, and I dropped it before I could kill it. And from there, my memory was transported back to you, Sister. To your starter house on Beechwood Street, the one Dad got for you, to feel more like a father and less of a failure. You, Annie and I had found a raggedy stray kitten one evening after leaving a park, and it was all mews and homeless and irresistible. We put it in your small car, made a pit stop for some flea treatment and brought the kitty to your home. We bathed its lost and found body in the sea green tub with flea poison and Ivory Soap. And then I watched you with a towel-swaddled kitten in your lap. Ticks began to emerge from inside its fur, and you took them between your artful thumbs, you smashed each one to its death. You said it was the only way to make sure they died and the kitten lived.
May / June 2023
Amanda is a mother, poet and teacher originally from San Antonio. She draws strength and creativity from her Mexican American roots, and from her husband and three daughters. Her poetry and essays have been published by The Latino Book Review, The Front Porch Review, Calyx, Anti-Heroin Chic and The San Antonio Review, among others. She dreams of being a full-time writer and storyteller.
Art: Jennifer Peart. Modern, Augmented Reality Chateau, acrylic on canvas panel, 14”x11”
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