“I worked hard so my girls didn’t have to serve nobody else like I did except God”

Yona Harvey



Candy-colored bulbs frame a girl for a holiday.

If the wicked call from the other side, she doesn’t hear. Blinds shut. Devices

                      blink & twitter. Before it’s too late, her mother snaps a picture—anticipates

angst & oddly angled aches, strawberry letters. Whatevers.

                                 The mother will mark the photo tomorrow. Sign. Seal. We’re all well!

—one of the last acceptable print messages. Meanwhile, Soup

for dinner, again? What else? It’s winter. Herbal constellations swivel in froth. Stir.

She samples with a lean near bowing. Steam on closed eyelids. Mothers ought to give thanks. Simeon, she thinks

instead, & then: her long-gone grandmother’s tattered Bible, the daughter’s

overdue library book

    concerning States’ rights. Why’s that? She’s hardly felt

hated. X’s & O’s glow in the daughter’s palm. Look

how easy, the daughter often says. She is patient with her mother. Blessed

        be the child at the center of snow & flu season. She flew past

blessings long ago. So far from a little girl, really.




Yona Harvey is the author of Hemming the Water (Four Way Books). She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.