SWEET GIRL by Regina Caggiano

The difference between her and me is that only one of us is sweet.  

There may be other variables at work but none of them weigh nearly so much. I have learned this in a month and a half of living beside her blue bedroom. Case A: she is always walking around the house in ball-busting heels. Case B: when cooking for guests she is undaunted by expiration dates. What she wants and what she does are often in 1:1 ratio and she will always tell you the necessary truth, but no more. When we go out to neon bars she is not worried by the way her body escapes her. She is never concerned about untethering from the cord of herself while in line for the women’s bathroom. But in the morning she loves a woman who grinds coffee beans for a living and is bitter about it, and so there is always a fresh brew waiting for her on the stove. In the night I am sometimes taking home a boy with overlong hair. He spends one afternoon under the gun of our living room. She tells him that the way his hair hangs across his eyes has him looking like he is seven years old, he turns red and itchy in response to this. They are my words coming from her mouth. 

To be sweet is to be willing to fall away. 

She has poured herself into me in the nights beneath the skylight stars, we stay up suckling ethanol and vinegar on a sunbleached couch in the living room and together we find the root. Root: to be sweet is to be Mother. To have Mother so deep in your bones, you must’ve grown up with a good one, she says. We decide, always with a never-mother she had no chance at ever being anything but a taste that smarts the tongue. 

Mother in the right way exists for me and no one else. Her body and her mouth are mine. I have seen the way I guzzle her wholly. I have seen the mirror of her marked on me, the way I once paid little mind to the exchange of things and the sake of balance. It is the cyclical nature of matter that you cannot take without losing. But being close to Mother and the creamy blanket of her arms is worth whatever infusions may take place at the site of skin contact while I am sleeping against her heart.  

To fall away is to be Mother. 

(If) the doctrine of motherhood is self-effacement (then) the doctrine of loving a boy with child’s hair is supply and dependence. I will be his need-it-in-the-nighttime until he weeps no more, until he cannot sleep without a lock of me fingered between him. He refuses all haircuts and when he asks what must be changed and the answer is nothing, because, like all beings that emerge from you, he is perfect. Here is where it all comes together: a convergence between two moons. 

To be Mother is to share a body. 

Some women hold stars at the site of their never-home hearts. Some women circle each other as celestial bodies do, on a long long string with nothing in between. Sometimes their orbits are impenetrable. Two sad looking drunk girls are beholden to no one and may accomplish anything in the way of persuasion, and through this route hold the power to take over the world (given).  

(Hypothesis) she and I wear black boots at night but for him I will always be sweet. In the bedroom beside hers I crave and unfurl myself into his relief. I make whispers that he stretches into one dimension while he sleeps. I say, with all his infinite strength, he cleaves the universe in two when he turns over on the sheets. I make him fall in love this way, I knead the skin raw, he becomes new again. A boy in love is small and will fold easily against your heart. I hold him until our bodies are the same shape. We are both my creation.


Regina Caggiano is an emerging student writer getting her undergraduate degree in Something Unrelated. Her work has been previously published in The Athena Review, Ember Chasm and others. You can find her on twitter at @reginacaggiano where she loves to connect with other writers and small presses!

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