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Picturing my Family as my Body as the Red Sea
My flesh is freshly skinned, because of my father’s
nails. My father is brushing out the tangles in my
hair. He is used to the brushing, he says, because he
used to have a sister. I don’t think to ask him where
his sister is now, although I picture her with hair
perfectly tangled, like an extended family, like ancestry.
My family tree is knotted and webbed, but every member
has a place, and if you’re lucky, a purpose. My mother’s
purpose is to cook soup for the Passover Seder. I picture
Passover as ****** as when the planets forget to flash
across the sky. This happens. I have seen it the way I’ve
seen a boy look at me from across a wooden table.
The boy feels like my cousin, even though he is not my
cousin. He just happens to have a gaze that calculates,
like the gazes of the old men that sit together in my town,
on the corner of the two streets whose names I can never
remember. When I walk by them I make sure to shuffle my
feet even quicker than I usually do, because I want to forget
about my body. I don’t look in mirrors anymore. I don’t even
look into my favorite lake anymore. The way it wrinkles together
hurts as much as my father’s nails do: my father’s nails against
my scalp and against my skin. My father picking me up out of the bath.
I am still wearing my organs. I don’t think I’m three years old anymore,
but I’m not quite sure. I can never remember what it is like to age.
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