Rose Bedrosian


Working in the background
like software downloading:
You look like a sack tied in
the middle, she sneers.
Your ass is as big as a barn.
Did her mother speak to her
this way? She seems to think
it’s useful, these relentless
corrections. She seems to
think it’s her duty, in case
you slipped for a minute,
caught someone pretty in
the mirror. She seems to think
it’s funny, because her eyes
twinkle, and she smiles, and
when your face crumples she
chides, I’m just kidding! Gaw!
As if it’s your moral failing that
you can’t take a joke. As if you
don’t understand what it means
to be a good mother, as you make
the mental note to never do this
to yours. She may think it’s ribbing,
but you’ve got the antidote. You won’t be
cribbing from her notes. Cycle broken.


we were barely in our double digits
that hot summer visiting our cousins
in what my mother derisively called
“the sticks,” everywhere dust and
parched grass, we kids chained
for an icy drink in a perspiring glass,
sweat a rivulet between my newly
mounded breasts, the adults forget
the painful awareness of our teen
bodies (“nothing I haven’t seen”
declares my dad), or they just don’t
care, when they insist we combat
the triple digits in the above-ground
pool, when of course no one has
thought ahead and had us bring
our suits, so topless, and all I see is
baby fat and nippled hills captured
by the callous photographer in stills,
embarrassment a different sort of chill

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