Born six weeks early, I’d oozed out on one of Biloxi’s sweltering moldy nights as Mom screamed Screw this fucking kid, just give me the goddamn cigarette! 
          Having clamped and cut my cord, the doctor pushed back on his rolling stool and handed me to a nurse who shoved me in an incubator. 
          I should have fallen like refuse from a plane, fallen into that purgatory called adoption, called foster care, fallen anywhere but back to her, yet by chance I was her last pawn against Dad, a pawn she continued jabbing even after stealing every piece she could from him, even after he’d conceded that he’d ruined her figure, her reputation, her life, and long after he’d introduced this movie star wanna-be to his family who’d just lost their land. Land that had survived the Civil War and Great Depression fell through their pale fingers like cigar ash flicked by shrewd brokers who’d leapt through Wall Streets’ fiery loopholes with the surrealistic aplomb of circus bareback riders. 
          Now even their future was lost to a daughter-in-law who was so goddamn crazy she’d laugh like a barking clown every time she told me this story.

Thank you to the editors of Doorknobs and BodyPaint for first publishing this piece.

By Elizabeth


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