Genie Crushed by Bottle
Mother lights a candle for the other girl,
one whose car pulls up in the driveway
every Friday night, who sweeps her kitchen
like clockwork, who doesn’t sing at Pride
or show up drunk at Walgreens’ pharmacy
for prescribed cocktails. This girl’s smile
knocks out Mother’s business partners
when it lights up the iPhone screen,
symmetry pinned in pearly white rows.
She answers articles of low-cal cooking tips
with thumbs-up emojis. Speaking of articles,
she bought a white dress that never stains
or fades, no matter how many wash cycles.
If necessary, she dabbles bleach slightly
on frills by a cold-shoulder peeking
with just enough skin to draw jealous eyes
but never glares from hat-topped Baptists.
Picture this dress: A-line, tea-length, fits
her fourteen-year-old sister, who wore it
in her first pageant, twirling across the stage
with big sister’s grace. Big sister’s waist
no larger than senior year of high school
though she fills her plate. She’s only ever
skipped one or two meals. This girl’s not
fucked up, she’s never fucked anyone.
She’s too busy biking to Bible study
and, okay, skipping one or two meals a day
but never more. Everyone knows she doesn’t
lie. Ask her to hang out and she’ll grab a bite
beforehand because her schedule’s tighter
than her pussy, okay? If her body grows,
it’s in reverse, a favorite VCR rewound
until tape catches in the wheels.
Wooden frames where she perches
forever in her Easter dress are thicker
than her wrists. She hangs in her closet
her dress, unstrung, buttons popping
out seams before she’d refuse
a parent’s wish
By Amy Lauren
A graduate of Mississippi College, Amy Lauren authored Prodigal (Bottlecap Press, 2017) and God With Us (Headmistress Press, 2017). Her poetry appears in The Gay & Lesbian Review, Cordite Poetry Review, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere.