Holding Their Tongues
“I’m worried the best thing about me
is what I don’t say,” Becky told her mom,
“and nobody will ever know it.
I feel like a root vegetable
with the greens snipped off
and what’s worse,
that’s my damn kimono
you’re wearing.” It was true
about the kimono, but
Ella was only trying to distract her child
from the harrows of introspection.
Last week she’d resorted to
harrassing Becky about gum care,
just to keep her from doubting her luminosity.
They were an old family. All their furniture had claws.
“Why not tell the help,” her mother said,
and waved her gimlet toward the back garden,
where a gathering of snapdragons
bobbed their faintly mutinous heads.