Bad Mother :: Bad Father

Natalie Scenters-Zapico

You come home with a bottle

of sotol, an apple floating

in its pit. You say the apple grew

inside this bottle & you snapped

it off a branch to bring home

to me. I pour each of us a glass

& smash the bottle to rescue

its tiny fruit. You drink liquor

from the ground until flakes

of glass cut your tongue. In my jaw

I carry the apple — little fruit,

little child — to the yard to hush

its sticky crying. The apple stains

my hands yellow as I slide

its soft flesh down my throat.

When I return to the house

you sniff the corners of my mouth

hungry for any evidence of what

I have done. You say: You are

the bad mother. I say: You are

the bad father to have brought

this fruit home at all. I drink

& drink, until I root into a tree.

You sell the fruit I bear in bottles.


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