Barnacles


It sprouts on the lower portion of her right shoulder blade.
Just showed up one day,
poking its dark brown head through her pink skin, like
prickle weeds in the vegetable garden.
Unapologetically unwanted, a stark oval with its tendrils in deep
as she cranes her neck backwards to see it
in the fogged bathroom mirror.
Here I am. I live here now.
She whines about it to her mother; it refuses to be hidden.
Her mother chuckles, apologizes for the speckly genes
she's planted in her daughter.
"All the women in our family are moley," she says.
"My sister Kathy calls them barnacles."
She catalogues the moles growing on her
mother, on her five aunts, her array of cousins.
These lumps, all different in composition and location,
alike in their obnoxious nature,
perched on limbs and clinging to torsos;
here we are. We live here now.
Grandma has them on the back of her hands,
nestled between wrinkles and popping blue veins,
hands curling around stained coffee cups, hands chopping carrots,
hands brushing a younger girl's hair out of her eyes
and behind one pink ear.
She gripes about them with her cousins,
she's this close to getting the darn thing removed.
She won't do it.

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