Pushcart Prize Nomination: My Mother’s First …

I am my mother’s first daughter. My mother, who taught me how to
weed a garden. She taught me how to pull carefully at the base
of the stem, to bring up the roots. Otherwise, the weed will just
grow back.
I am my mother’s first daughter, despite the hair that grows
on my chin and my chest and my legs and below my belly button
and spreads more onto my shoulders every day. Despite my broad
shoulders and the almost imperceptible lumps of my pectoral
muscles sitting over two long, white scars. Despite my low voice and
my short, comb-over haircut.
I look in the mirror at my receding hairline, my angular jaw,
the musculature of my chest and abdomen and I see daughter etched
in every line of my body. It spreads like a weed. It was there when I
put on my first pair of boxer shorts. It was there when I was wheeled
into surgery and there when I woke up Those two long scars on my
chest revealing an absence of breasts, daughter stitched into each one.
It is there every other Sunday when I sit on the toilet and stick a
needle into my thigh and push the testosterone gel into my skin. I
think it will push daughter out but it does not. No matter what I do, I
cannot bring up the roots.

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Pushcart Prize Nomination: A Place by Samantha …

I want to use the photographs to cover up the last week. Boxes and boxes of them are carted out. They have to be divided amongst the three of us siblings anyway, we may as well start now. The journey is red eyed, but tearless. We don’t like to cry in front of each other, but I don’t know why. Vulnerability was a sin in my mother’s childhood and I think a little of that was poured into our family recipe.

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