When I couldn’t pick up my daughter early today,
as planned, she sent me a series of texts-
a masterwork of guilt-trip and manipulation
for a twelve-year-old to construct.
When we got home, preparing stuffed mushrooms-
I called her, “Chef” and worked under her direction-
I read her texts back to her, aloud.
When her mouth curled into a smile,
“Don’t ever do this to another human,
and know that one day, a man will try to do this
to you. That’s the game.”
“I’ll be fine,” she calmly replied,
and smiled, knife close to hand.