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equally strong desire to figure out how you clasp an ant to your bosom and nourish it, even if it squirms down into your shirt and bites your chest as a reward for your tenderness. That’s an acceptable trade-off, to return home with a sulky face and a swollen nipple, where your mommy can squirt a little unguent out of a tube, one she specially bought at the store in anticipation of this day, knowing you would need the ministrations of her sure touch. Knowing that she knew in advance, before conceiving you, what it meant to be a mom, what it would require of her, and deciding without any qualms that she was up to the task, and that she always would be, no matter what. Knowing that she stood between you and oblivion, a monolith, an immutable rock. That is what Darla needs Kara to be. No crack allowed except the ones in the sidewalk that say you get to break your mother’s back. She doesn’t get to do it to you. And even if she does break hers, that will only happen for a very good reason, and no one else may do it except Darla. That right was conferred on her the instant she fell into the world. But Kara doesn’t have to worry, because Darla is going to nestle her mommy like a baby. That is how it works. You go backward, which ensures that you’re always moving toward life. Your skin gets more elastic, your mind gets unclouded and the accretion of sins falls away. So there is no need for guilt, anguish, second-guessing. You don’t have to be forgiven for your adulteries and your yelling. You don’t have to be forgiven for shattering somebody else’s psyche, for passing down the curse of your existence and your questionable genes through the sheer irrepressible urge to procreate. No, you just splash in vitality like a bird in a birdbath or a baby in a baptismal font. The liquid in your hair isn’t sweat, it is water, pure and clear, cold and bracing, leaving you calm and collected for a new and everlasting day.

PAYNE | BorderSenses vol. 17 11

BorderSenses Journal Vol 17  

BorderSenses Journal Vol 17

BorderSenses Journal Vol 17  

BorderSenses Journal Vol 17

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