Brooke Tapia

The Daughterless Collapse

In this way, a woman is an echo
Reverberating softly through an empty house
The almost-silence, palpable
A begging to be forgiven
Or forgotten

So as not to be ravaged
By the same hands that tear into
Overripe fruit,
Animalistic in their desperation
Unkempt fingernails in orange rinds
& the sour scent on your hands for days
So you feel untouchable
Knowing you’ve devastated something soft

Scene change, and it’s clinical
White walls and sterility
The womb of your unhinged anger
Still bursting with bleach

We are the products of untimely births
You may call us daughters
See: drought
Suffocating heat from the inside out
Because women don’t know how to half-love somebody
Haven’t given ourselves permission to unbury our fists
From the mouth of the river we call our father
Or gut the fish of our mother’s heart

The undoing starts with the underbelly
A slickness, a violence,
A festering wound of mistrust

Call it the daughterless collapse
The way your jaw aches, humanly
Body sallow and sunken in all the soft places

When’s the last time a father let anything be soft?

Or forgiving, like time
Softhearted in its transience
How it gives and gives
And never hurts

The liminality of daughterhood
Echoes through eighteen years
An unraveling hunger
The heredity of pain

How it hurts and hurts
And never gives

Brooke Tapia is a lesbian poet from Soldotna, Alaska. She is a first year, first-generation college student (entirely fueled by rage and caffeine) pursuing a Bachelor’s in English. If you’re reading this, this is her first publication.

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