by Rosalind Casey

Dear Diary

I saw Mom crying again
Even though the fighting stopped
Even though she says Don't worry sweetie
Cause you'll be back before you know it
But her lips go tight when she says it
Like a bean pod
Dead before it's ripe.

I don't want to go away
It’s cold where Uncle Hades lives
Too cold for flowers
Too cold for my friends to come
There's no one talking but the gardener
And he has hard and shiny diamond eyes
And a skin crawl smile.

He can't be a real gardener if he doesn't grow flowers.

But I'll go I guess
I’m tired of the fighting
Of all the sharp edged words that
Taste wrong in my mouth
Words like compromise and
Implied contract
Words like single parent household
That make Mom's eyes go snap
Like catclaw in the bracken.

They always talk so much
And Uncle Zeus uses such a reasonable tone
It just makes mom madder til she says
You filthy hypocrite --
And Sephi, honey, go and play outside --
But Uncle Hades doesn't talk at all
He just stares and smiles and scowls.
Sometimes he stares at me.

But I'll go I guess
Cause it can't be all that bad
Uncle Hades sometimes whispers in a
dry dirt voice
That he'll make me queen.
The library has storybooks
where queens are always beautiful
with flowers in their hair.

Besides, it's not forever
like they said maybe
it's only a few months
And I tell Mom that I'll be back and
everything will be the same
And she looks up and says Will it, Baby?
Will you be my little girl?
And I say yes,
I'll always be your Flower Maiden
But then her face goes dead
Like winter.

Rosalind Casey hails from Texas, but currently attends school somewhere in the chilly Northeast, where she lives in a house on a hill near a wishing well and a weeping willow. If a mask were to choose her, it would be made of a nonbinding and breathable cotton-synthetic blend (even though she would sort of want to say glass and feathers).

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