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.

I laughed.

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,
I knew-

she knew.

“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.

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