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Daughter of an Atlanta Stripper

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.

from Sugar WorkFind more by Katie Marya at the library

Copyright © 2022 Katie Marya
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Katie Marya Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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