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Temperance | Amanda Myrtakis

On the second and final date, I help you fold your laundry. You ask me if I’ve ever worked retail, because I’m impressively good at this, but I haven’t. I was raised by a violently perfectionistic woman - a tortured artist, intimately familiar with metastasizing grief. She taught me the value of precision and labor. I learned this from her. I learned this from fear.


For a moment, I am proud to be a descendant of abuse, because maybe if you see how useful I can be, I can trick you into staying. Maybe you will grow to love me if I fold this T-shirt better than anyone else ever has, if I rid your busy schedule of wrinkles, if I organize just one little part of your chaotic life. Maybe I can be calm with you.


You say you don’t know if you can give me what I need right now, but you have no idea how little I need, how long I can entertain myself with a basket of socks, imagining each one a lonely soul in fated search of their one true match. You have no clue how much I can create from nothing, how desperately beautiful I become in the face of scarcity.


I only wish to be as gentle as you are, to live in this tranquil bubble forever, to forget that I am my mother’s daughter. Please let me sit here and fold your clothes, please pretend this is all I’ve inherited, please make me believe I am so much less of her, please tuck my hair behind my ear and kiss me on the forehead one more time.


Amanda Myrtakis is a writer residing in the PDX area, where she obtained a BA in Creative Writing from Pacific University Oregon. During the course of her studies, she spent time as an assistant editor for Silk Road Review: A Literary Crossroads, represented her school in the ACE Board America’s Best College Poet Competition, and was twice published in Pacific’s Literature by Undergraduates Magazine. In her writing, she explores topics related to trauma, neurodiversity, and family.


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