Mirene Arsanios


Emergency Kids

I’ve been trying to avoid blood ties. In the lower deck cabin, my mother is lying on her back, looking at the ceiling, pretending she’s rich. I’m not with her physically but I can see her in my mind; she’s wearing golden rings and showing off thick black hair scattered on her chest. My brother is playing a video game on his phone; he hasn’t uncrossed his legs in hours. Sometimes, when he seeks my attention, when he becomes interested, I pay him to go away. “Don’t be a bitch,” my mother reproves. I tell her that he’s a threat; his intentions are unpredictable and potentially dangerous. She pretends she doesn’t hear me, she’s ashamed of my vocabulary. When she’s with me, in public, my mother ties me to her wrist with a cotton rope, not to lose me, she says. I’m only eight, but if I could upgrade from having a family, become luminous, I would.