Thursday, 27 September 2018


Dear girl I used to be

by Shannon Phillips

Your parents thought nothing
of it that you wanted
to write.

They weren’t resigned:
Fine, write.
Never expressed their relief—
she’s quiet, occupied.
Their daughter no distraction
from their road trips,
their unprotected flings,
their pills and powders.

No one told you
what to do.

I’ll tell you what you should do:

Be a doctor. Or an engineer.
A lawyer, if you must argue.
(Lawyers write!)
Learn to code.
(You like language!)
Maintain your French.
Nevermind—study Spanish.

Close your mouth.
Keep your clothes on.
He isn’t worth it.
None are.

Put your clothes on.
It’s not too late.
Leave.

Observe the animal that sleeps
in a circle, keeping
itself warm.


* * * * *

Shannon Phillips is a freelance editor and aspiring translator (Arabic-English) who earned her MFA in creative writing from California State University, Long Beach. She has two chapbooks: Body Parts with dancing girl press and My Favorite Mistake with Arroyo Seco Press. When she isn’t busy reading Nordic noir or letting her tea get cold, she can be found napping with her Russian Blue. She is also the founding editor of Picture Show Press.