Daughter of an Atlanta Stripper

by Katie Marya

My mom on that stage rehearsing
to Madonna’s Material Girl—
she wears champagne pink tights,

her legs ethereal and the light hits
her chest so gold dust surrounds
her face. A mirror unfolds behind her,

making it hard to choose which side
of her to admire. Three women follow
her 8-counts while I eat chicken nuggets.

They move in unison. One trips, laughs—
they start again, hips gliding back and forth,
knees bruised from the moves on all fours.

In the back I snoop through drawers
of sequined lingerie, tubes of glitter
lipstick. Mom catches me, lets me pick
a scrunchy, lets me try the lightest shade.

Katie Marya is a writer and translator originally from Atlanta, Georgia. Her work has appeared in North American Review, Guernica, Waxwing, and other literary magazines. She was the recipient of the 2018 James Dickey Prize for Poetry at Five Points and has received fellowships from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Nebraska Arts Council. Her first full-length poetry collection, Sugar Work, was the Editor’s Choice for the 2020 Alice James Award and will be published in June 2022.

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