By Julie Marie Wade

Back on Joy’s boat, we were sailing,
and little Rafael was just three years old, his
life-preserver nearly choking him to death.
And Melody, their mother—only grown-up with
song in her name and head shaking pitch-coloured curls—
was braiding Joy’s hair with Maypole-worthy ribbons.
Early one morning in the cabin, my hips braced
against the rocking walls, she caught me in my
shameful body, my not-yet-old-enough body,
and something shifted in the skein of her eye,
and she pretended to have been looking for a
hairbrush or a misplaced bobby pin, but that
instant we glimpsed it together: my future;
the remarkable teratology of my life.