Kay Mancino

The day I learned to walk

He held out his palms

for me, waiting;

my tiny insect

fingers squirmed

inside a hot jar of honey

and pulled

at the saccharine.

He picked me up, dangled me by

my feet, shook all the sweetness

out of me. Knocked on hollow

baby bone with his knuckles.

Carved me open with the claws

of God’s First Man starved of

fruit, shy & forbidden. Spat out

my seeds. Told me I was bitter.

I crawled all over. I crawled

to church and climbed

on the pews. I crawled

to my bed, bled out

on my mattress.

I crawled into the arms

of a woman who told me

I looked pretty

on the ground.

She slipped me new skin,

watched me crawl into it.

Spread herself open. Let

me creep inside. Wiped between

my legs with a warm towel.

Held my hips with the desperate

grip of Saint Jude. Gathered me

in. Swallowed my shame.

I take a step forward, like

newborn calf,

like wilted woman,

like shriveled fruit untouched

by the sun. She

weeps for my skinny

legs and my insect fingers.

She weeps for me with

her palms out. She opens

them wide. She shrinks

me to honey.

Kay Mancino is a creative writing major pursuing her undergraduate degree at SUNY Purchase. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in several magazines such as Italics Mine, Sandpiper Review, and Submissions Magazine. In her spare time, she crochets and hangs out with her professor’s fifteen-year-old dog, Willa.