Size / / /

I'm the pretty sister, Dad says,

so I get to go out and model my new suit

for the entire Aegean navy. For morale, Dad says.

Electra's the smart one,

Orry says she needs to up her Paxil

or else get out more, stop obsessing about Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Orry's just a guy, what would he understand?

He says I look hot in my Spandex thong.

Not what I need to hear

from my own brother, thanks anyway.

Daddy's annoyed the winds are down,

his yacht becalmed.

He's annoyed over Helen, too. Promised to defend

Uncle M.'s honor when she ran away.

Paris? Come on: he's no stud. He's a prettyboy in gilt armor.

And Mom? She's already got the wandering eye

for my own uncle, for heaven's sake.

If Dad goes away again —

Sometimes these business trips last for years.

Sometimes the fleet doesn't make it back.

Sometimes Dad brings home a woman he claims can forecast trends.

Don't think I'm so innocent.

Orry looks thunder when I mention Aegeus.

He counts the towels and the kitchen knives.

Daddy kisses me, hands me onto the skiff,

going home to explain it all to Mom, he says.

The sea is calm, nothing can happen to me out here

as they row toward Sea Serpent Rock.




Mary A. Turzillo's "Mars Is no Place for Children" won the 1999 Nebula. Her first novel An Old-Fashioned Martian Girl appeared in Analog. Both are recreational reading on the International Space Station. Published in Asimov's, F & SF, Interzone, SF Age, Weird Tales, Oceans of the Mind, and Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, she has over fifty poems in print, plus several collections, including Pushcart nominee Your Cat & Other Space Aliens. You can read more about her at her website www.maryturzillo.com.
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14 Sep 2020

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