Shoeboxes of photos stacked in my parent’s closet. I pull one down, lift the top worn soft as felt from decades of entering these memories. Thumbing through prints, I find the one of my mother and me in the backyard.
Barely spring, nests neglected, we stood at the birdbath all concrete and shit streaked. My father positioned my mother first, then to capture distance put me in front, rising just to her waist. Crotch blocked, that vessel of delivery splintered and stitched.
Her hands dead weight on my shoulders, pushing just enough to keep me away. I consent with a secret resistance: head up, shoulders back, no smile. Refuting the fealty that childhood demands.
Years later, my daughter will turn her head to reject my breast, leaving its blossom a weepy blue stream. She’ll want out of my arms. In my throat, the scrape of empty shells.
Lisa Mecham’s work has appeared in Carve, Juked and BOAAT, among other publications. She serves on the Advisory Board for Origins literary journal and as a Senior Editor for The Scofield. A Midwesterner at heart, Lisa lives in Los Angeles with her two daughters.
Photo by takomabibelot