By CL Bledsoe

Mom shrank in fluorescent light,
her mind the withering pulp
of an aging apple, but she

couldn’t die. I had no way
to comfort her ghost that wailed
outside my bedroom door each night

until my head broke from lack
of sleep, so I did what they said
would fix it, sat and chatted

with a dozy man about all the toothy
things that hid in the edges of my sight.
No one would ever love me

again. No one ever had,
maybe. Who can know such things?
With all the pills I couldn’t afford

but took each day until years
had passed, I learned how to sleep
during rain, stood in the sun

when I could. There was always
work to be done. Steps to count
that might lead somewhere better.

Stuff My Stupid Heart Likes by CL Bledsoe (co-author of and The Wild Word:

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