by Emily Franklin
Sorry for waxing hairs between my legs, pulling so hard the skin bled, tiny beading red as though each follicle expressed its grief. Sorry for sometimes consuming too much— the cheese in its gentle rind, the chewing candies that mimicked real raspberries in the dead of winter. And sorry for sometimes eating not enough— those blank days of hospital drives or when sadness weights the belly so full food cannot be thought of. And sorry, too, for the phase of so much spinach grit left on my teeth it could barely be scrubbed off and for the garlic which I sweated out, alienating those who shared my office and bed. And I am sorry, body, for picking cuticles. For allowing two toenails to rot, ripple like shy ferns. Sorry for scars and marks which are really treasure maps of successes— organs removed, babies delivered, tumors excised. I only ever wished you well but maybe this came out as wishing you different, thinner brows, or eyes that matched or hips slender or hair ringleted, breasts manageable. Truly, I am grateful for you—imbalanced gait, questionable pores, freckled thighs, your efforts and skin, the grace of oxygenating and deoxygenating lungs, of musculature and form, spine of knowledge— heart with its chambers and metaphor. I apologize for my indiscretions and derelict care in this marriage, loving and needing you as I do. I do. I do.
Emily Franklin‘s work has been published or is forthcoming in the New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Forward, The Cincinnati Review, New Ohio Review, Shenandoah, Guernica, Blackbird, Tar River,The Rumpus, Cimarron Review, and Passages North among other places as well as featured on National Public Radio, long-listed for the London Sunday Times Short Story Award and named notable by the Association of Jewish Libraries. Her debut poetry collection will be published by Terrapin Books in February 2021.