No one wants to kill their mother. So then don’t kill her,
you say, as if I needed you to make that decision for me.
It’s not even worth thinking about, I say, she would never
come to me for that. I’m not that daughter. Then what daughter
are you? you ask. Second, I say. The strange one
with the elegant neck. The daughter difficult
to recognize as daughter. Did she, could she
come from me? Could she be mine? The daughter to be disavowed,
if any could be disavowed, if that were possible. Nothing is
that easy, you interrupt, and you’re getting carried away.
What daughter are you? I don’t know. Just not the one who kills.
Not the one who can be trusted with acts of kindness, at the end
of it all. Maybe you could be the one to sing to her, you say,
before. God, no. Are you insane? I will say, though, there was
this one time—this one time—What time? She asked me to make sure
her make-up was done. Her manicure fresh and flawless. The hair,
the skin, the body, you know. I’m to take care of the body, I say,
after. That’s important, you say, and where coldness can serve you
well, where lack of kindness can become a kind of kindness. No one
is that cold. I could never. Who could? Who cares about a dead body
being beautiful? Clearly some do, you say, and if this is about
proving yourself. Proving myself how? I ask. I mean, haven’t I?
Lauren Bender lives in Burlington, VT. Her work has appeared in IDK Magazine, The Collapsar, Gyroscope Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Yes Poetry, and others. You can find her @benderpoet.