Bad Daughter

It’s my own mother
I think of when
in the hot car it
hurts me to watch
my painstaking girl
return from the
water ice kiosk
balancing three lemon
ices in a four-hole
tray, plastic spoons
fanned in her fist, wad
of napkins wedged
between the ices,
when a gust makes
the napkins riffle then
gamboling lift off,
like and unlike
ones that went before,
fair girls in festival
dresses dancing
up the street, leaving
her at the curb
in flipflops and sweatshorts
looking through the car window
to see if I’m mad.

First printed in American Poetry Review, Vol. 50, Issue 4, July/August 2021. Used by permission of the author.