96. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Mary O’Connell

The doctor, delighted, sells you on a bland suitor:
“Why, it’s just plain old Basal Cell Carcinoma!”

Just a raw forehead in mid-life, delicate penance
for teenage sunbathing in Kansas.

The girls who came before you—your mother’s mothers—
had hard lives and dreamed you up: O, suburban girl

roasting herself on a varnished deck,
or deep in December Sunday bliss,
the highway an icy hairline scar, the missalette
and then Oak Park Mall.

— Mary O’Connell

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