Stretched

The women in my family are all thin 
No, not in the physical meaning 
(yes, I see you looking at my curves and double chin)
I mean they stretch themselves like taffy 
Until they’re spider web thin
Desperate to wrap arms around those in pain
To wipe away every child and partner’s tears 
To take away the hurt until there’s no more left in the household 
Besides her own.

We dislocate joints and break ribs
To transform ourselves into whatever tool they need
Saving our own tears for the moments alone
Crying into a pint of frozen custard
Or a glass of wine 
Like a lifeline.
A Band-Aid on a crack in our foundations.

My mother is a fixer.
She pours love and understanding 
Over disagreements like thick, 
Viscous, cough syrup, 
Suppressing the “you don’t understand”s and the “fuck you”s 
Until all that’s left is long sips of another cocktail
And a feeling that you’re right even though no one actually said so. 

I sit here now
Wishing to feel her voice wash over me
Wishing that she could wrap her arms around me 
And take away the pain I feel inside
If only for a moment.

I find myself longing for a love I know is deep
Not deep like a well
Deep like a root canal
Not painful for the dentist who needs the paycheck
Painful for the patient  
Who rakes grooves into the armrests
Declining the Novocain until she passes out
Not wanting to burden the assistant with the trouble.

I long for a love that I so desperately need
But now can never ask for
Knowing the price she pays to give it
Knowing I am the next in line at the dentist
Knowing I am just as thin.


Kylie Jorgensen lives in Fond du Lac, WI with their unconventional family of a quirky, supportive Scorpio, a direct, challenging Leo, and their ever-entertaining fur children. They write poetry and creative non-fiction, capturing the snarky, raw, and sometimes beautiful bits of humanity throughout their work.

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