My daddy likes to talk with his hands—
Painting a picture in the air with words that I don’t quite understand.
He tells of sleeping people on tables, pale
White gauze and red blood
Under his fingernails.
He usually washes his hands.
He tells stories
Of how he has to break bones
In order to set them straight.
“Healing requires pain, honey,”
He says, his words adding weight
To the heavy room.
“That’s what makes my job great,
Straightening out the crooked in people just like you.”
His hands mime the breaking,
I close my eyes to the red hue
The room has become
And squeeze my hands together to make them stop
And while I don’t pray to my daddy—
Those letters are reserved for someone else—
I can’t help but wonder if my god held my broken body in his
And said the same thing.
Kelsey Kay Herring is seventeen and currently trying to survive high school. She attends Harpeth Hall, an all-girls school in Nashville, Tennessee. She has been published in the Harpeth Hall Literary Magazine, and she writes for the school newspaper.