the girls who will train you

by Signe Swanson

Illustration by Claire Schlaikjer

published April 7, 2017

have red nails and paws. have straight hair and red aprons.

are getting married. are twenty two. dropped out of beauty school to be their own stepsisters. are dying somewhere italian. it is nineteen hundred and ellis island. teach me i’m dumb as fuck. pull out analog calculator when I cannot count change. teach me my own accent.


chitchat real talk vindications of 

the dumb bitch named

the dirt under her fingernails.


the girls who will train you,


it is hard to man the telephone while your selves live in the kitchen. i am not you so what’s wrong with working for lessons? have they ever smelled an earth lily before a duane reade eau de parfume? have they been who is nor who isn’t: who drinks every sermon on what to say to make it in the new world dog-eat-dog macrobiotic takeout place, subsidiary of full throttle culture. no: here it is nineteen hundred and ellis island. they don’t talk to me when i talk. my nails have dirt under them and it’s my first name. it’s really hard when i am a woman too who’s loving a warm dinner and you really made it. i am cold blue and i am new here, six degrees separate from the oven, as you

                       nursed the olive oil into fire:

                                                                       you damn mothers