Looking at Him Looking at You

Lydia Armstrong

My mother
Used to do aerobics in our living room
Toned at forty in a crop top
Revenge body
This was her take back her life
Sleeping on the bottom bunk
in my bedroom
Passed my father wordless in the mornings
My mother played Stevie Nicks and
Gloria Estefan on the boom box
Spun around the living room
Said vino was the juice of the gods
Got up for work the next day
Knew the bouncers and bartenders
Had a cabbie in her back pocket
My mother left my father seven years
before she left the house
Maybe she wanted him to see how
vibrant she was on the inside
Hidden under years of pinched brow
and her thin bottom lip zipped tightly
This is what you’re missing
She is not an easy woman
I think I see more of my dad in me
And more of the men I date in my mother
They say you’re always looking for
somebody
And somehow I keep finding her
Swept up in that spinning tornado
Where the quiet is at the center

Lydia Armstrong lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her cats Birdie and Mabel. She collects bugs, drinks tequila blanco and white tea, and is working on a novel. Her work has appeared in Apt, Blotterature, Neon Magazine, Axe Factory Press, Arsenic Lobster, Five 2 One, and others.
Read more from Lydia Armstrong: Hold Tight