A facade, a rat trap that snapped my neck. I was pacified by cul-de-sac love,

bringing me back to mother’s arms. In her version, she hugged too tightly, hence the crack.

Clamping claws against my wrist. Grinding hard into skin. She slapped a firm hand 

over a jar. My firefly brain trapped like an experiment. 

Jars of Spanish seasoning resting in our fridge. How could I 

not think it’s love when it kisses me every night and makes home cooked meals?

Little siblings walked into my room to ask questions via her. A mouthpiece for mother,

Turning them into spies for answers. Tears hit my bare knees, delicate as velvety dog fur.

I couldn’t help it, becoming the dog begging at my mother’s feet. Well behaved, 

excelling in obedience classes. Racing after fake throws, not wanting to believe.

My eyes lifted to see her saccharine smile flashing back at me. All she wanted was 

to be the best in her children’s eyes, so how could I really despise that?

Firefly. Dog. Rat. Morphing to crack the code of love. Constantly circling 

back to confusion. At seven years old, I loved bald eagles. Beautiful. Free.

Flapping wings until the forests no longer look like barbed wire.


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