Nick Fisher CC
Courtney / Persephone
Mama always said I was bad. Bad all ways. Bad like Dad. Got
that bad blood bad seed. Blood black as the River Styx flowin
thru my veins. Mudblood. Not like that boy wizard shit. I mean
that bad seed that rots in the fallow field and grows. Only strange
things. Dark fruited things. Corpse flowers. Late bloomers. Me.
Dark girl with bad skin. Shit-smell girl, they called me. Retard
girl. Collector of birdbones and Barbie dolls beheaded. Mama
wanted a mini-her. Oh Mama. All beauty queen and sun shine.
Golden hair, sunkissed skin. Mama all Malibu. Mama tried
bleach and spray tan. But on me the spray streaked. Turned
dirt. And bleach all she wanted, the dark roots always grew
back. Rotten. Mama said. Girl, plant sunflowers. Run barefoot
in the good garden earth. In the sun sand surf. Stay in the rays
of. The warmth of the day. Light. Mama tried, but my garden
grew strange. Grew bitter. Fatal. Reeking sinful. Vespertines;
pomegranates tart of flesh and thick with blood seeds. Bad
seeds. How did my garden grow. With fungus and funeral
lilies and meat-eating orchids all in a row. Mama tried to
warn me. Daddy was a bad man, Mama said. I know all
about those bad men, girl. How only a bad man could love
a girl like me. And how I wanted all the bad things they
could give me. All the things Mama tried to warn me away
from. Things to tempt and ply me. Stiff cocktails and big
black cars. Leather seats they'd lay me down on, slide
hot rough hands under my skirt. Or motorcycles, engines
hot and purring between my pale thighs. Oh Mama tried.
But I was just born bad, Mama. Mama I said I gotta go.
Bad. Look at me. I tore my skirt hem. Above my dirty
knees. See how dark my eyes are, smudged by eyeliner
black as coal. Fine, she said. Go— She opened the door
to the coal-dark. But if you walk through it, girl, you won't
be able to come back. No matter how bad it gets. Goodbye,
Mama. I said. I took my blood. My bad. And walked out
into the black. I stood, thumb-out by the side of the road.
Alone and free. The headlights of approaching cars glowed
like pomegranate seeds in the bad bad night.
Jessie Lynn McMains is a poet, writer, zine-maker, and small press publisher; a collector of souvenir pennies and stick & poke tattoos. Their words have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Barren Magazine, Philosophical Idiot, The Ginger Collect, Sad Girl Review, Awkward Mermaid, ISAcoustic, Juke Joint, and others; they’re also a contributing writer for Pussy Magic. You can find their personal website at recklesschants.net, their press at boneandinkpress.com, or follow them on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram @rustbeltjessie
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