by Mitzi McMahon

Mei-Li slides off her bed and shuffles to where her mother waits, cloth and tape in hand. Holding her breath, Mei-Li lifts her shirt, afraid her mother will notice the band's been tampered with. But her mother only tightens the already too-tight binding over Mei-Li's emerging breasts.

At the window, Mei-Li eyes the young maple tree's too-early buds, now covered in snow. After dinner, she sneaks her mother's scissors and cuts the buds from the tree.

Mitzi McMahon lives near Lake Michigan. Her work has appeared in such places as The Citizen, NFG, Gator Springs Gazette, Salome Magazine, The Rockford Review, NOÖ Journal, The Houston Literary Review, and is forthcoming in The Binnacle.

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