Kristin LaFollette

Mothers

Girl



 

Mothers

 
It was morning—
We drove to the airport
with the music up and the
 
heat on, and we didn’t
even get to sit next to
each other on the plane.
 
I sipped cran-apple juice
in the window seat toward
the back and felt like I
 
knew you even though I
don’t think I really did.
You, more salt than calcium,
 
told me about your mother
over salads at the corner
Italian market, as if you had
 
been hollowed by wind and
air, I saw the words fall
from your mouth, watched
 
you turn stories and names
over in your mind as if
remembering a thunderstorm—
 
We didn’t need the landscape
of the city on our last night there,
only the corner market, your
 
longing for children, the story
about the man you were married
to when you were young.
 
Back at the hotel, the linens
smelled like leaves when you
crush them, as if something was
 
broken open—
Looking up at the textured ceiling
from the bed, I saw the shapes of
 
animals we keep from ourselves,
and something like a river with enough
water to wash both of our bodies.
 
 
 
 



 

Girl

 
A woman I don’t know asks me over the phone:
             Are you a mother?
 
I can hear guilt in her voice when
she responds to my answer,
 
as if there’s some shame in it
as if there’s something wrong with my body
 
I feel no sense of loss or longing, my anatomy is numb
 
Imprints in the floor from my adult feet,
once a child who maybe never grew up,
will never age the way my parents did
 
A child, the person I still am—grown body,
blood and warmth in my core,
 
my life to give life,
 
green,
 
a thing masked by my
                                                    youth
 
Capable child,
daughter, wife,
                                       adult,
             girl
 
I often feel outside myself, the air smelling
of minerals, the oxygen in my mouth the taste
 
of objects yellow with
age
 
 
 
 


KRISTIN LAFOLLETTE is an Indiana native with a BA and an MA from Indiana University (South Bend). She is currently a fourth-year PhD candidate at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH. She was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her work has been featured in RED INK, Common Ground Review, Bridge Eight, West Trade Review, and Poetry Quarterly, among others. Kristin’s manuscript Body Parts won the grand prize in the 2017 GFT Press Chapbook Contest and was published in March 2018. You can visit her at kristinlafollette.com.


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