Wednesday Sep 20

Athena-Edmonds.jpg Athena Edmonds recently graduated with an MFA in Creative writing from Lesley University. Previously she founded and managed a series of early stage software venture funds. Apart from her MFA, she holds degrees in Materials Science from MIT and Cambridge University and in Management from MIT Sloan School. Originally from Thessaloniki, Greece, she lives with her husband and four children in Belmont, MA.
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Girls
 
 
Daddies’ girls, mommies’ girls, valley girls,
slutty girls, and girl virgins. Lip-ringed
lisping girls. Girls with names of goddesses,
names of months, days and flowers. Girls
with names of jewels, fruits, and virtues.
Girls who rule the slide rule. Girls who can
battle boys in a beat on the beat on both
drums and guitar on Rock Band. Girls that
bond in bands named MalakAss. Girls that
sprint in the first heat of the Nationals in the
royal blue and white of the Greek flag. Girls
in flip flops in February, scuffed Uggs in
July. Why? Girls who sneak to the prom,
their prom gown in a stop&shop brown bag.
Freaking out both mom and dad. Girls
who dye their hair from Manic Panic Cotton
Candy Pink to Manic Panic Bad Boy Blue
leaving Angry Purple streaks behind on my
bathtub. Girls who love horses and White
Horse, Grey Goose and grey geese, Beefeater
and steak, Wild Turkey and Thanksgiving
break. Girls in strings under juicy sweats,
flying Chihuahuas in Chewy V-ton handbags.
 
I try, I do. I try to put it all behind me, to put
it in the past. Why must I weep and mourn my
fourth, when my older three should be enough?
I need to let it be! Her name cut in half, her
brush in the trash, her wiry body performs a
roundhouse kick in martial arts; the art of her
body practiced, her affect deliberate, her nature
scorned, her cool-dude style, by all, adored.
Here’s your Spyder blue jacket. Here’s your
robot decorated room, the pattern you chose
from the catalog’s boy section, your Lego
Jedi Starfighter and your black Nintendo.
Put it in your holster.   
 
Everywhere you go, your disguises reek of
testosterone. On EBay I auctioned off your
sisters’ dresses -- like you asked me to. In
the basement I dug up your sisters’ Barbies
and stuffed them in the trash. Along with
Barbie’s Mustang, Barbie’s Fashion Fever
Store, and her pal, Polly Pocket. Polly
Pocket and her Polly Mall, her Polly World,
her Polly Mansion. When Barbie’s Three
Story Townhouse didn’t fit in the three-ply
yard-size Hefty garbage bag I grabbed your
father’s hammer and smashed it against the
concrete floor. Then it fit.
 
It would’ve been worse if you’d ended up
like those other kinds of girls I know. Sour
girls, girls that look sweet but taste bitter,
girls who chew gum with their mouths
aghast. Girls that twizzle under pressure but
then burst into the scene like stars. Kit-Katty
girls, S & M’s, Smarties and girl Nerds.
Girls who snicker at boys but skittle at their
touch. Girls who’ve been caramelized under
high pressure, hardened into brittle toffee,
pounded into taffy, powdered by the fist
who when jelly in the belly, don’t let the gun
drop – which gets them locked up for life
saved behind bars.
 
I hope if I rant and vent like this, I’ll get with
the program. I’ve learned to see you, to talk
to you without your pronoun, without the tail
end to your name, without a role expectation.
I’ve learned to let you be, to advocate at your
school, to befriend other boys’ mothers, to pro-
vide ultimatums to my mother, to blackmail your
father’s mother, to threaten your father with
divorce, and to tell my sister-in-law to fuck off.
It’s me, love, I’ve learned to be your mother.