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  • i'm the most recent in a line of lonely children, only women. i've watched my mother pick and taste the flesh of men, lick bones clean, and toss them over her salted shoulder onto the floor. my grandmother taught me to savor marrow at the kitchen table. i've always been oddly sentimental for the bunch, but sat quietly, knowing my time to watch would be short lived.

    when i was younger the bottom bunk in my childhood room remained empty, for guests i meant to never invite. there were too many secrets and prayers that could be too easily misunderstood. at night I preferred to sleep in my mothers bed, on her side and mine, half wedged beneath her, dozing off the to rise and fall of her soft ribs. each morning i woke up in my own room, above the covers.

    the top bunk was a foot from the ceiling. i would lay on my back and talk to my bespectacled god, as if he were on the other side of the sheetrock in an office sorting files of various prayers, sins, and confessions. i wanted a sister. more than a barbie jeep, or all the fruit stripe gum you could fit inside it. both placidas were growing me too fast. i had stretch marks on my knees and my heart.

    i heard about naa shortly after my 21st birthday. months earlier my father called out of the blue to announce the arrival of his wife and kids from Ghana. i'd seen her picture once in passing, however like most things with my father, you can't believe them until they're gone and you're left lingering with the empty handed smell of car exhaust.

    the day i arrived to meet them, i waited for a moment outside the door and listened to the unusual sound of life coming from inside the apartment. multiple feet, silverware on dishes, a television competing with voices, a neglected kitchen faucet. my heart jerked 3 beats for what i never had with my father. or more like 30.

    i knocked on the door and naa jerked it open, smiling wildly.

    "show me your breasts!"

    we went in the bathroom, and i did. she shrugged and walked out, pulling me by the hand.

    we like coca cola and ribs for breakfast. she whispers in my ear, sometimes yells, and laughs hysterically when she's peed in the bed.

    it took me 13 years to that day to realize why i never got that damned jeep.
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