We all want to forget eventually: the flurry of ghosts across our faces like convulsing fists & mother shouting under lukewarm bathwater; a father’s hands trying, desperately, to cinch her gasping please. Sweat-slick skin turning to soft yellow lights under his thumb; back arching with one last, jealous heave, then slack. Her voice caught in his hands. The spine won’t remember salt that far submerged—nor the lungs. Nothing echoes there; no residual, no rings left at the bottom. Father will deny how full her mouth was: teeth grated with saltwater, homemade dopamine coating the tongue, globus hystericus rising. And if I was a good daughter, I’d lie down in that tub and scrub the day from my skin, scraping pumice stones across my body until their reflections blurred. The water would fill everywhere that their bodies didn’t connect, and I would sink down into it, too, until I did not resemble my mother; until I myself softened. Reciting nianfo, I will sleep.
KATHRYN HARGETT is a junior at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham. She is a 2015 Foyle Young Poet of the Year, and her poetry has been recognized by Princeton University, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the Alabama Writers' Forum, Gannon University, Hollins University, and Sierra Nevada College. Her work can be found in the Adroit Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Gigantic Sequins, Polyphony HS, and elsewhere.