Shot by Kara Clark
Too late not to look; she’s only just sixteen but a lewdness that’s new to me pools in her eyes. It’s the look of someone smug, who knows what she is doing.
Her body’s there to contend with too, which she bares more of in each picture, which she squeezes spreads and bends. I flip through the stack for the extent; I fix my focus on the backgrounds, her twin bed, on which her clothing piles until it’s over.
I should know by now a mother never finds less mess than she’s expecting. Home alone when she’s at school, I can forget. I can remember I want back the dress she’s stolen, a faded floral relic from my 20s. I swished through her closet with no luck, sat on her bed. Decided to finish a glass of what I’m drinking.
I looked at her tapings on the walls: glossy cutouts of celebrities and candids with her friends. In those she scowls; I didn’t know that was my last time loving her disinterest in her image. She was still unlike those girls, with their posing and their pouts, desperate stars in lustured versions of their lives.
My drink's aftertaste turned acrid. I could be desperate, too. Why now did I need my dress, a thing I only pulled off urgently to jump into someone's bed or pool, what I wore to puke in somebody's piano?
I opened her drawers with a new and tipsy urgency. The photos peeked out from their envelope: "For Laura."
No picture captures and incriminates my past: the nights I gave up sleep and swallowed what you’re not supposed to. Girls floated by me and my drink in gritty basements or the beach at a night. They made me ache for something soft, suck harder on my straw.
I filch her scissors and commit to the occasion. I return the envelope of pieces to its drawer. I haven't stooped to scolding or to scaring straight, instead have settled for the pettiest revenge. A coward like myself has had much practice.
Kara Clark's writing has appeared in Vol.1 Brooklyn, Sleepingfish, HTMLGIANT and Newest York. She's an MFA candidate at The New School.