Chella Courington
Mom got a willow tree tattooed on her back, branches over her shoulder, after my little brother tried to come out feet first. She named him Kev for Kevin Bacon, the big brother she always wanted. You know that Tremors poster where grisly teeth rise underground while Kevin stands over them with a gun. She hung it on the bathroom door facing the toilet and another above the bed. "Kevin's watching out for us," she would say when the chicken burned or a check bounced. I knew Mom didn't fit marble countertops or Tupperware parties, slicing carrots like heads on a block. She hardly ever slept with Dad. Working the night shift at Casino Magic, he came home late. Some mornings I would find him by chance on the couch, right leg on the floor, an old quilt covering him. Mom, Kev, and me slept in their bed. At night I dreamed she slid into her black jeans and tank top and climbed into the cab of a Peterbilt. As she rode away, the earth vibrated. 

First published: August, 2011
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