“Exactly how they want you to be” by Julia in J’s Attic

Friday May 10, 2019
9:49pm
5 minutes
Martin John
Anakana Schofield

She sits, pretty, mouth closed, because pretty
She is 7, going on 8, she is the middle child
Her younger sister is wearing white beside her
She is wearing white
Her sister youngest is beside her wearing white
They are all to be seen, not heard, no peeps, no sound
Mother does the talking
Mother always does the talking
Mother talks circles around Father
Father says little but is feared most
She is sitting, not speaking, no peeps, wondering
Am I Allowed To Go To The Bathroom?
Am I Allowed To Ask If I Can Go To The Bathroom?
Am I Allowed To Need To Use The Bathroom?
The clock ticks a slow death, a burn, a punishment
She is counting everything she knows how to count:
chickens, lashings, siblings, six of each
times she woke up from being unconscious:
three, and one she is not remembering
The adults are eating, maybe laughing, but none of them see
They don’t see three pretty little dolls sitting on the couch
Three pretty little dolls, dolled up for the sake of looking at
Three pretty dolls too afraid to move or be heard
She sits still with her hands clasped in her lap, knuckles itching
The way a nightmare might

“roasted fennel” by Julia at the Sheraton in Philadelphia


Tuesday April 15, 2014
11:09pm
5 minutes
A post on Instagram

Mama liked it when her drinks tasted like Italy. It reminded her of home, of her mother, of her doggie, Stella, and her doll-friend, Cicio Bello. When mama took a sip, she’d slip, then slide, then land back in a time where farm animals woke her up each morning, and where Figs grew as big as your face in September.
She stocked up on the stuff just in case they ever decided to stop making it. Not that anyone would, it was a beautiful thing. But just in case, she always said, just in case.
We knew she could say whatever she wanted and we’d never say a thing in return to her about it. We didn’t want Mama to feel like she had a problem. We didn’t want anyone to think she couldn’t handle it on her own, just the way she wanted to. Nobody mentioned a thing when we’d find bottles of her nostalgia hidden under the sofa cushions, or planted deep in the soil of her dying rosemary bush. Nobody said anything when Cicio Bello started appearing again in Mama’s life, her old friend whispering things to her no one else could hear; keeping her company through the storm.