Early Bloomer by Amber Lewis

This piece was first published in Quarto's 2018 Spring Print Edition

They called me an Early Bloomer,
cramming tits into
ill-fitting bras before middle school,
hips widening to
a tentative smile —

nappy hair wound tight
by Mama’s milk hands —

                        I do not look like my Mother, though
                        you’ll notice we share a             smile.

White Mothers hissed I wish I had your figure at
pool parties,
sipping Mike’s Hard by the water,
dripping condensation,
when I was Thirteen.

                       Would their husbands rather fuck
                       a Little                  Black                      Girl?

We learn young that our
bodies aren’t our own.

  Illustration by Cameron Lee

Illustration by Cameron Lee

Wal-Mart Seasonal Candy Aisle: February 6th 3am by Sprout Conner

  Illustration by Cameron Lee and Charlie Blodnieks

Illustration by Cameron Lee and Charlie Blodnieks

"Wal-Mart Seasonal Candy Aisle: February 6th 3am" was first published in Quarto's Spring 2017 edition and has now been published in her collection, Motherbird.

My mom breaks through gooseflesh packaging
tears apart school&love&wind
before telling me that as an egg
I would've still cracked
and that girls are like icebergs but I cry
I never learned how to swim so she pours
the chocolates into her purse carefully
then all at once before we run
from the store and to the trees

her hands blistering in the cold
my skin burning through her jacket