Satin and Tiny Noses

Illustration by Roz Crews

Illustration by Roz Crews

One of ten children, I shared a bedroom until I was twenty. I can still see the bare back of my eldest sister as I’d peek over the top bunk, and she'd swiftly change her shirt. Glimpses of satin bra straps informed my choice to wear satin slips to bed, the ones reserved for Sunday School. Putting on tights, someone would always swoop in, pull me up three feet by the waistband, and suddenly and snugly my legs would fit. At bath-time, Mom would toss in her nude colored stockings and I would swish them around and wonder how they got dirty. Mine were ripped once after I skinned my knee in a race against a brother and neighbor who I wanted to marry. 

Nights when my parents' door was unlocked, I would sneak into their bedroom to sleep in the ever-present pile of unfolded laundry. I would burrow and think of our rabbits in hutches outside. Raw and rosy patches of skin dotted the mothers after they scratched out fur to build nests to give birth in. I remember hints of tiny noses and closed eyelids piled behind veils of grass and fuzz. In my own nest, camouflaged by jeans and bed sheets, I once awoke to a foot crushing my arm, startling my working father's 4AM beeline from bed to dresser. Crying, I crawled to his then-empty side of the bed, the mattress still warm, and I realized it scared me more than it hurt

Submitted by Anonymous, Edited by Arianne Keegan