where she sits on the front steps of the nyc townhouse i will own someday and spouts nonsense, says do your science homework, sweetie. says what matters more, what you say to yourself when you lose or what you say to yourself when you win? repeats c’est la vie. c’estlaviec’estlaviec’estlavie until my ears bleed so much they can’t anymore and my head is as hollow as a pumpkin, she talks still. c’est la vie, but she is wrong. this is your life, not mine.

dreaming mother in my sleep, every night but sometimes only the small things: the flick of her coat in the corner, her voice humming along to the music, the tips of her glasses, her eyes when i look into the mirror. watermarks of a sample life, one she has carefully built around me, painting everything in but me. she calls this choice, says i can be whatever i want to be. but how can when i need to be able to match the view from the window?

sometimes i leave and i can forget about her/ all of this. i leave and i can’t remember so i tell them i am the moon’s child, born and raised on the wishes of man, made of moonlight and the dust that grows on your countertops. feral child but ethereal in her beauty and wild in her majesty. i feel as insane as i look. funny girl with bright eyes, what you could have been. i leave and i leave but something always brings me back.

i leave, but she can too–braids me a harness of the christmas tinsel we used to hang on our tree, picks up all the things i don’t say and molds them into the carriage she’ll come in. sometimes she even gets there first, dropping golden apples as she goes, says this is all for you. mother understands the hunger in me as her own, but has never looked into my eyes to see if i am anything more than famine.

it works just like that, i think, when she shouts and i lie through my teeth. what yeses really mean: i hate the way you play puppet with me, hate the way i can’t breathe when you’re around, hate the smell of your hair, the flesh on your bones, the way you make me feel so small. i’ve got this, like you don’t understand. but how can she not?

i am the daughter of the dreaming mother, the photo that can not, can not, can not capture  that. smile. that. drives. men. w i l d . daughter of the moon, but only made of moonlight and the dust under your fingernails. child with bright eyes but an empty mind, alone in a broom closet and everywhere else too. and i am supposed to be cool, supposed to be the girl in my mother’s mirror, the one that can’t listen or talk, the one that can’t move except when you do, the one that can do nothing but stare. at the least i am supposed to be smart.

daughter of the dreaming mother, but with her own head in the clouds. fuzz in her ears and the world in her eyes; rêveuse extrême with something akin to a death wish but who has got someone else pulling the strings. most days i wouldn’t be able to pick myself out in a crowd, get too lost in all the things i could be. forget my name like it’s the hair dye that comes off whenever i step into the shower, forget myself like losing the pair of glasses sitting on top of your head. trade these four walls for those three walls, but really just walk into another room and pretend to be someone else. i leave and i leave, but something always brings me back. perhaps it’s the way you speak or the memory of your hands running through my hair as i fall asleep, but i can never seem to go very far. the way you look when i say goodbye. dreaming mother with moth wings and the ability to imagine anything, who can look through you with just a glance, whose one great love is calling the shots, a willful thing with a heart of gold, the smartest in any room, the brightest light on earth– the one who loves me most. and after all, isn’t the last thing a dreaming mother needs to complete her shining set a matching dreaming daughter?

Robin W. was born in 2004 and lives in Canada, although she would greatly love to move to NYC one day. She enjoys writing, sleeping, and poking people with metal sticks (fencing).