I give you this lemon loaf.
I give you my cheeks,
which I am
seventy percent made of--
I give you my toddler mullet
and my feminist straight bangs.
I give you this smile.
This smile that wonders why adults don't write checks in crayon
and why they laugh when I tell them I’m an astronaut fashion designer.
I give you this lemon loaf.
This lemon loaf I made with my grandmother.
The grandmother who allowed you to slowly grate her into tiny vain pieces,
so small that one day,
when she had a granddaughter of her own
she could only communicate by making baked goods her doctor told her she cannot eat
(something, something, cholesterol)
and by pinching my arm fat.
I make you this pumpkin pie when you have nowhere to go for Thanksgiving.
I let you kiss the back of my neck as I chop these onions and
I let you snap at me when I make a Sylvia Plath joke as you clean your oven.
I buy you your whiskey gingers.
This four year old smile.
This 25 year old smile bought you your whiskey gingers.
I feed you your pile of ketchup with your side of tater tots
and I buy you these hundred dollar combat boots I should have used myself to fight you off.
I have cinched this apron tight.
wrapped round my head.
Crack it open, this is my brain.
take the bits that crunch with anxiety
and melt with anger.
I have let you fuck me in this apron after everyone else went home
and I have given you the leftover sweet potato casserole.
But I give it to you.
I make this dough for our homemade pizza on my lunch break
and survive your banana pepper topping.
I give you a knowing smile as your hollandaise curdles.
I give you a hug and play with the hair behind your ear that curls when you need a haircut.
I had wanted to make you my mom’s beef stew or her taco salad.
I let you make me feel more like my mother than a recipe could.
Take my heart.
It’s in my right hand.
to wipe that speck of flour off your lip before I kiss it.
We are born giving too much.
With our youthful, chubby smiles and our loaves.
Did you know when I was young I would mispronounce my L’s?
Llama into ‘yama.’
Love into ‘yove.’
It’s not like my right hand.
Do not smile.
I have not allowed you to smile.
I allow you to kiss me after you make me pay off your proclivity for mead.
I give you a polite nod as you corner me and ask with a mouthful of bar pretzels,
“you wearing something cinnamon?”
I let you press against me in line at Dunkin Donuts, 9am on a Tuesday—
Let you yell at me for not continuing to talk to you at:
I give you the citrus of my wit,
the batter of my imagination,
the powdered sugar of my affection.
Another click on the egg-timer.
This Yemon Yoaf.
About the artist...
Abigail Phelps is Columbia College graduate with a major in Acting and a minor in Art History. She is vegan, loves dogs, smokes socially, and dreams of moving to a secluded cabin in the mountains to whittle and grow old. Swipe right if Terrace House means anything to you.
She also has a nasty habit of using her Tinder bio for professional purposes.
Want to see more of Abigail's work?
Check out her work from past issues: