Under his covers, my youngest turns. Says he can’t sleep. His face looks like mine. You’d have a hard time telling who’s who, save his blond hair. He likes to watch me write in cursive, so I take a sheet of paper and write I love you. I was his age when my grandfather taught me how to write my name. The hand has more control than the mouth. Your brain and hand work by delay. Slow to anger, they teach in Sunday School. Edit as you go. My cousin Bree had cancer in her blood. It killed her in one day. Blood ran the wrong way through my body. I had a hole in my heart and was tired. A surgeon darned the hole. I love you, I write again. His eyes doze. If you could walk through arteries, you would hear your own voice, muffled as though underwater. Listen, I write. Inside is a call to your own life; the sound, distorted. My darling, follow. Know the exit, then go.
Jamey Temple is a writer and professor who teaches English at University of the Cumberlands in Eastern Kentucky. Her poetry and prose have been included or are forthcoming in several publications such as Riverteeth, Rattle, Appalachian Review, Literary Mama, Kentucky Monthly, and Still: The Journal. You can read more of her published work through her website (jameytemple.com).