El Pescado

Hi my name is Frances
And my mom's an alcoholic
Holds her bottles like a fishing rod.
Her sobriety is a timer she resets every morning

My mother is always down
For el baby shower
For bodas
And birthdays
Told me the best gift she ever gave me was her burden.
Mi mamá
Taught me how to smile at my reflection
By swallowing her's.

No me olvides
She whispers into whine glasses and empty beer bottles
No me olvides
Don't forget me
As I carry her to bed,
As I clean up the vomit,
Tie up her long black hair, mop the sticky floors.
My tidal wave woman
Taught me to swim by drowning.

So desperate to fill the Jessica Rabbit
Shaped cutouts in the sand.
Will she look up from the glass shards?
Whisper to me between slurred sea foam,
"Hijita, how did you get so strong?"
As I rip out the hook.

-- Frances R., 9th-12th Grade