portion of the artwork for Stevie Edwards' poetry

What Love Must Mean to You, Father
Stevie Edwards

I cleaned Grandma’s house every weekend for two months
to earn enough cash to buy that baby blue Mossimo bikini,
that one you couldn’t or wouldn’t afford to buy me,
back before Mossimo struck a deal with Target and still meant
money and style, to wear on my first trip to Florida
to visit cousins. At the beach, we climbed a 20 foot platform
to feel the sting of water on our brave skins
as we entered it. You squatted your center of gravity
closer to the wooden beams to steady your wobbling knees
and spitfire breath. You examined my thighs for
signs of stretch marks, concerned about their width
leading me to spinsterhood. While chicken thighs sizzled
into crispiness for dinner, you reminded me
not to eat too many. This must be what love means
to you. This was two years before I shrank into nothingness,
a size 00 loose around my hips. And despite the thinness
of joy in a cramped house with punched out walls,
liquor scars, you rocked me to sleep singing Jimmy Buffet—
I was not alone. This must be what love means to you.
On a Sunday morning, when I wake hungover
in a bed more comfortable than my own next to somebody,
probably a man, probably too old for me, who tells me
that I’ve got good thighs, that I should keep them,
that I shouldn’t go trade them in at the used thigh lot
or anything, I will try not to think of you.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 31 | Winter 2011