Scout & Birdie
Scout & Birdie

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 smile,
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.
Red squares,
white squares,
wrapped round my head.
Crack it open, this is my brain.
Take it,
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.
My favorite.
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 pledge,
to shake,
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.’
You wouldn’t.
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:
The Owl
Ten Cat

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.
Continuously. Always.

We give.

These dimples
These hands
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: