By: Gaby Kill

My brother’s just moved into college!

Well, not entirely- there’s still his coffee machine and a box of granola bars, but we’re driving those to him today.

As we pass by my mom’s old sorority building, she looks on with fondness. It’s the academic one, the high-achieving one, the we-host-mandatory-study-sessions one. In it, she sees family-   Her husband, not so much. 

 The girls outside are dressed their best for rush but all he sees is,   “skank.”   All he sees is,

 something he’d never let his daughter be.

Cause a  short dress makes for short judgements about bright girls with bright futures,

daughters that get duller every time a dad like him puts them down.

 The word “daughter,”        is unfamiliar to me.

It burns in my throat like a hot drink, like boiling water,    the water in which they boil the witches,

 my father doesn't really like females.


maybe it's our strength, our beauty, how powerful someone can be

maybe it's because, growing up, a woman was the one to beat him when he did something wrong

a woman was the one to tell him there is no money for dinner,

 only cigarettes.


She calls herself g-ma,   cause grandma is too long and abuela tastes too much like New Mexico.

My father  is called father, cause "dad" is too loving and "John" makes it sound like I don't know him -

like I don't know how he likes the women in our family to keep their hair long,

 like I don't know how softly  he comforts you when you skin your knee,

  like I don't know how strong his sweaty grip is when we're crossing the street and he doesn't trust me.

I wonder    how many streets he's crossed, always moving around, nine elementary three junior high six high schools, he seemed to break off bits of himself at each one.

he left his hugging arms   in Tulsa

his softspoken mouth  in Independence

his patience   in Albuquerque,

His foregiveness in Wichita

and his heart…    probably at our house 

      before he moved out.


or maybe a woman, a witch.

stole it from him.

ran her hands down his chest the way he ran his up mine,

plucked it out the way he picks insults for women,

stitched the hole the way he tries to fix our relationship with a gift card on my birthday.



You drive by a sorority and you see college students,        he sees people that owe him.

He sees revenge.

my father hates women and as such, I am no daughter.  I am girl. I am bitch. I am skank. I am honey bunches of oats when he's in a good mood. Maybe when I’m none of those things, he can be