Anne Brandes

Willow

Our lips, stretching burgundy, revealing sharp white
I don’t believe her leathered skin about my own porcelain

You told me his fingers could stretch around your whole waist
Pinching my unrouged cheek, she arched a penciled eyebrow

I don’t believe her leathered skin about my own porcelain
Still, I prod my thighs, squeeze my arms

She used to tell my mother to never stand in the sun
And to sit ankles crossed and slanted slightly to the left

Still, I prod my thighs, squeeze my arms
My mother leaned into me don’t believe her stories

And yet-
Mother cinches sashes around my waist and straightens my hair

Together they pierced my ears, thin needle through sour lemon
New pearls on my earlobes, to show our eyes

Grandmother and mother bent into each other
Like the same willow, thick hair interlaced

New pearls on my earlobes, to show our eyes
Our lips, stretching burgundy, revealing sharp white

Like the same willow, thick hair interlaced
You told me his fingers could stretch around your whole waist

About the author: Anne Brandes is a sophomore at Phillips Exeter Academy. She is editor-in-chief of Exeter’s literary and arts magazine Pendulum. In her free time, she likes to read and play squash.