My Fake Mom

Vanessa Saunders

My voice is characterized by a poor volume. At lunch she said, The hair wax is tearing off snippets of my skin. A wasp struggled in the warm outdoor patio. Fibers of his polo-shirt sliding against the black leather of his Camry. Another clump of hair appeared upon her jaw-line. I walked in on her naked body, her flesh sagging down from her bones, it showed me where the cancer had snaked inside her. Evolution is not a progressive gesture. His loafers squeaked as he stood up on my stoop, his face was crinkled in the sunlight, he was walking away, then he turned back. He said, Why do your breasts sag like awkward flowers. She stopped answering her phone. At night he drank himself speechless, his shadow clung to my bedroom walls for weeks, I could not eliminate its stink. We don’t grow old, we grow backwards: she died in July. In my youth, as an athlete, I was criticized for the poor volume of my voice—I could not reach the other players, my voice too shrunken to stretch across the enormity of the field. At night he stuttered, You don’t act like other 19 year old girls.  He stopped answering his phone. With broken brooms, we swept dead wasps off the cracked blue paint of our porch.