Danielle Zipkin (she/her) lives in Brooklyn with her husband, plants, plecostomus, and roomba. She has poems published or forthcoming in The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, Expressions of Awe, Humana Obscura, SamFiftyFour, A La Moda, VAINE Magazine, and elsewhere. When she’s not educating middle schoolers, writing, or quarantining, she enjoys dancing, scuba diving, and getting lost in bookstores. Instagram: @dalyssaz

On daughters wielding chicken wings

Danielle Zipkin

If a body part is ever honest, my knuckles

wear plain their tight-curled desperation
to belly my mother’s breath and music
most while harmonica-holding her barbecue

chicken wings, sauce clotting in the grooves

of both my hungry hands, thick as lineage.

Consider my fingers halfway hers, posing
the careful cuts she charred like temple
gifts for jealous gods towards my own
teeth. Consider those bones descending
like a second mouth, pulled from my own,
each knobby edge painting red dimples
that measure just how much wider her wing

stretches beyond my smile. Consider my face,

stained like a Passover doorframe warning
the rest of the plate, consider my fingers

twisting the baring bones like a cartoon villain

schemes a mustache. I lick each finger between

skeleton and skin repetition with the birthright

rude of a child who hasn’t yet left her mother’s

kitchen to rent her own in a cold midwest.

And here, at my mother’s table, a man
who loves me offers advice like a napkin
I refuse to wipe my mouth with, models
a one-handed grip that keeps the right hand

unmessed. His left pinched hold on the wing
is confident as a lazy hinge, his hand half mine

trusting that the meat is as dead as promised

by the shrink wrap. Here, I consider my own

sticky hands, and all of the choreographies
I have ever been advised to unlearn:
my mom, disappearing pieces of my childhood

blanket that she sewed and then shame

surgeried away in amputated patches; or
my best friend in the bathroom conjuring
a brush from her backpack like a tired trick
to correct my ponytail angle. Audienced
at the plate, I half handle the next wing,
lift it towards the right side of my mouth
the way I once raised a sticky, ribbed
wand close to my lips to blow soft,
clean bubbles into the air, unafraid then
of things flying out from my grasp,
unafraid then of every silent burst.

Online Education

Flame disorients

those who dentist

unassuming

cave mouths

with loose tooth

shadow play,

alchemies hungry

retinas into quick

tightening fists,

like screen glare

down the barrel

of a child's eyes.

A president tweets

and somewhere

a finger is clicking

follow, and a flag

is dangling by its

heels, and a child

is learning to spell

America's name.