Letter To My Younger Self by Karla Linn Merrifield

Dear Karla Linn:
I have a portrait of you, the poet as a young girl, carved in my memory like the scars from Daddy’s belt buckle on your back and thighs because you were to him:
Cursed at birth, left-handed. Cursed again in second grade, girl-child of Eve’s serpent, mirror-writing cursive messages as backward runes: .ekanS si eman yM.  Satan’s words, sinister, sinful, sin-filled, said the Father, who twine-+bound your hands to stop the Crayola, the #2 Ticonderoga pencil, the Parker ballpoint pen.
When the curse— Eve’s bloody punishment—came on at age twelve, curvaceousness ensued, then boys, then further, harsher punishments to purify the evil spawn of Daddy’s loins.
Trust me. You will survive.
Exorcised of Lucifer and related nonsense, you will at sixty-three still be forward-writing Siren’s words to fill Dear Diary, one of more than three hundred journals over your fifty-two years, to rival Anais Nin and William Heyen in volume, every single word de la main sinistre.
Proof you are ever traveling into the cymae of being, kissing away the curses on back roads to the curve of Time.

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