BEB: On Atonement

by eliza dunni phillips

I open my mouth to ask him “Why don’t you love us anymore?” but just as I feel myself softening, unfurling, spit flies out smacking my father in the face and the words “I hate you” stain the air. Eyes closed, deep breaths, inhale exhale, I tell myself that my reflection is not something to be repulsed by, inhale exhale, that it's fine my thighs are well acquainted and have no gap between them, inhale exhale, that my body deserves more than 3 apples a day, inhale exhale inhale and out comes something about how I have grown tired of my mother’s cooking. “Mummy, you’re just not domestic”, turning away quickly enough to pretend I did not see her face fold in pain. And later, I do not dare to offer the same “sorry” used when I forgot to do my chores. And as much I try to slice away chunks of myself, self-immolation fails to heal the wounds I left on them. So I use the pen in my hands to breathe life into the things, into the people, my mouth threatened to kill. Here, I atone for my sins.

Michele Dale