TENDER

A father takes his daughter to market,
asks how much she’s worth. She sits

on one side of a scale while the vendor
loads cases of pomegranates

on the other. No, the father says,
I sent her to school. The vendor opens

a toolbox, takes out a light bulb, checks
the filament before screwing it

into her ear. Okay, he says and starts
stacking timber and nails on the scale.

In the next stall, a young woman earns
her weight in sea glass and silk. The father

gestures toward her, wants to know why
his daughter isn’t worth so much. That girl

is a whore, says the vendor. And my
daughter is not? asks the father.

She looks at the timber and sighs. The vendor
checks her pulse at her wrist and neck.

She’s no whore, he says. The father nods.
No worry, the vendor says, putting

the girl on a cinderblock toward the back.
Someone will buy your daughter.

Emari DiGiorgio

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