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Say Chocolate

By Amy Barnes

My mother’s hands are coated with darkroom fluid or melted carob, I can’t tell which, but one is caustic and one is healthy and she forces both on me; pose for this she says do it again until you look happy AND skinny she demands, but I’m not happy because the chocolate is fake and my smiles are too, even forty years later when she sends me the developed photographs for Christmas, signed by blurry Kodak autographs, inserted into yellowing plastic jails that trap me and my first boyfriends and first dog and first bicycle and first car and last grandfather, right before we ate Farrell’s real chocolate ice cream wearing brown 70s bell bottoms and frowns when she only let me lick the spoon, but I find myself buying carob now out of curiosity at health food stores and it makes me frown and smile and take digital pictures wearing a brown sweater and brown boots and brown jeans, until I melt a little when my daughter with carob-colored eyes and hair smiles at me,

Amy Barnes lives in the South with dogs and kids and words and at @amygcb on Twitter.

Photo provided by author.


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