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Welcome Home

by Stephanie Alfaia

Please come in, 
Take a seat, she’ll be right down…

My grandmother says:
“Lock the doors
and never make a copy
you can only trust yourself.”

Hands grip forearms firmly them pushing away.
He leans forward
fingertips creeping towards the soft dip
of my inner thigh…

My mother says there are locked rooms
inside every woman:
kitchen of effort
bedroom of grief
bathroom of faith
sometimes the suitors come with keys
and sometimes, the men, they come with hammers.

Perhaps she had a plan.
it’s yours or it’s not
no one needs to know
the oops of ignorance that’ll
never happen again

“Are you gonna eat that?”
I ask the new wife,
pointing to my father sprawled on the table,
his mouth stuffed with a green apple

The curvier my body is, the more locked rooms there are, the more men come with dangling keys. Brady didn’t push it all the way in. I still wonder what he could have opened up inside me. Garrett stole a copy and kept coming back, shoving it in when he needed to feel at home. Emanuel rang the bell, touching the set in his pocket, always polite. Yellow flowers shoved against the peep hole, Vaughn never needed a key, he owned the house.

Show us on the doll where it hurts
I’m not a doll,” I said, “I’m a house
opening the windows over my chest

Knock knock
Who’s there?
No one.

The guestbook reads:
That was fun
I loved my stay
I’ll come again soon

Let me tell you about my soulmate. A five night stay, back on Memorial Day. He liked to air out the curtains during the day and pull them over the shadows of my doppelgänger at night. Every now and then I see her on my walls, blending into what I’m missing.

They walk in and make themselves comfortable.
Welcome dear friends, I announce
Thank you for celebrating my renovation.

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