Aisyday is a collector of things.
Hats and canes. Handbags. Scars.

I can’t be sure. I am certain.

She saw me as hard tissue. A door
left ajar. What I said. Honest.
Insecure and reaching.
A ringing nerve along her jawline.

Me. Jarring and disobedient. Always.
Her jealous, boasting a size nine shoe.
Because it’s more than eight.
It’s invisible ink.
A missing decoder pen. Pig Latin.

Us. Going like loose seeds. Different
and all the same. Nine years sloughing.
Becoming dust on a fan blade. Too high
to see. I do. I see her.

In Sprouts standing by organic lemons.
Making a same sour face. Her toddler
handling them all.
I’m hiding, eight months pregnant
in essential oils. Inhaling ylang ylang.
On accident. Grab antiseptic,
tea tree and reel. Remembering:

Her inherited narcissistic traits. My instinct
to make a break. Pass a note that is scissors.
Mostly, a plea for empathy or a lingering
question. Never.

Daisy is a collector of succulents.
Headbands. Toms. Melissa and Doug toys.

I can’t be certain.

Selected byJordan Trethewey
Image credit:Wonderlane

Kaci Skiles Laws is a closet cat-lady and creative writer who reads and writes voraciously in the quiet moments between motherhood and managing Crohn's Disease. She was a 2023 winner for Button Poetry's short form contest, and her short story Eugene was nominated for a pushcart prize in 2022 by Dead Skunk Mag. Her most recent poetry has appeared in 3Elements Review, River Teeth Journal, Blood Tree Literature, and elsewhere. Her poetry books, "Strange Beauty" and "Summer Storms" are available on Amazon, and her most recent chapbook, "Smile, Child" is available from Bottlecap Press.