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her by Nina Eddinger

You are taught you can be anything you want, but whatever you can’t choose

Haunts you in the cold bath

And in the mirror that has her face.


Your neighbors see you and remember when your mother burned the forest by dropping a lit

cigarette.

So they watch your fingers for stained tobacco skin and your lips for her dimple

That she filled with constant sound and light and

Loneliness.


And you pray to whatever you refuse to believe in

That children can break the mold of ancient heroes in ancient cities they never got to touch

And learn to cross their own sea.

Build their own boats and forge across the cliffs they see

Only in faded photo albums


I cut her hair from my head.

And tear her skin on my bones carved from our pain

And I slip past the silent shores on a canoe I made with broken fingers

And I can see the pace of us

Stretch on until the end.


She is a spider. A black widow

Building her castle in the corners of your own doubts

So she can see you sleep with another new man

And crush another new pill.


And laugh because she knows you’re remembering

All the things she used to do

While you lay sleeping in the next room.


And the eggs she lays in your head are worming their way through your thoughts and you sneeze

them

Into the sink and they can taste your blood and it is beautiful.


But you can see her too.


 

Nina Eddinger received her Bachelor's in Professional Writing in 2021, and has been published in Silver Rose Magazine, Her Campus, Shoofly Literary Magazine, The Borgen Magazine, and Share Literary Journal, among others. Her short story "Mom," was republished in Plain China's Anthology for the Best Undergraduate Writers of 2021.

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