At The 4th Of July Potluck The Year She Moves Back Home
I suck the marrow from the chicken leg, slurp the devil from its eggs, swill it down with the good beer then make room for a sheet cake slice the size of a house shingle. All this while other ladies skirt the table, peck and preen in the hope a good man might read restraint as marriage trained, the hearsay being all hunger’s the same.
Okay, here. Let me tell, how women constrict while men swell, how in my other lives I dreamed of sex, but these lovers don’t take feedback well, so now I wake moaning for brisket dry rubbed and smoked for days, a mess of fat back turnip greens, cobbler skillet baked and dripping fresh cream, the only mouth pleasures these hills offer, and the kind my sister denies herself to sate the demands of her good man, meaning only employed and only beats her when she gets mouthy, her mouth made only for one thing, he says, while his hands mimic how his male flesh muzzles her, and the men around him laugh and laugh.
Ear shot, she winces, then smiles at the wound.
I’m hunched over pork ribs, licking sauce from the divot above my upper lip, the cupid’s bow that dips over both our faces, but while my sister tucks hers under, I pull mine taut and sink teeth to bone.
Amanda Bales hails from Oklahoma. Since leaving, she has lived many places, including a dry cabin in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she received her MFA at the University of Alaska. Her work has appeared in Southern Humanities Review, Cincinnati Review, Raleigh Review, and elsewhere. She teaches at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. See more at her website or follow her @amanda_bales.
Author Photo by Chris Pompio
Cover Photo by Andreas Ivarsson