by | Apr 5, 2022 | Fiction, Issue Twenty Six


I’m on my way in as her mother’s on her way out as in out of this world as in lying on a hospital bed with her leg to be removed as in a carton of cigarettes a day as in never broccoli as in no friends as in a special universe in which to be alone as in no one to have looked for her as in a lifetime of a life that doesn’t belong to her before she lets go.

As in it came from a text I’d been waiting for from Donna but turned out to be about something else as in someone else as in not about Donna but her mother as in I remain powerless to say no and not only because I shouldn’t but am more powerless than before.

Because with Donna it’s never in the flesh as in it’s nothing but key strokes empty emojis deleted jokes as in nothing but ‘buts’ as in sentence after sentence as in word after word after word after word.


Her mother watches me as in what’s she trying to say as in I stand here as much for Gloria as I do for Donna but it’s too hard to say Donna’s name again already when she makes me not me whenever I look for her.

I’m a YES and Donna’s a NO on the amputation as in Donna why Donna couldn’t you have told Gloria I exist at least that I existed in your life once before now even when you knew you wanted me and never had to ask.

Gloria’s caught between us below as in what did you expect Donna me calling you a stranger ok you say you don’t like it ok I don’t like it either but I can’t be your past as in not your Noah or your Roger or your Joey or your Zach or your whoever else as in I won’t I really won’t.

A doctor enters but I bark him out the room as in Donna stop making me rehearse my sins as in give me your sins instead like the time you got me fired from my job like the time you got me arrested like the more than one time you gave me an STD and wouldn’t tell me his name.


DO IT Gloria musters as in take my leg as in Donna’s huddled against her mother’s face the two of them frail from all the years of hate and hiding when it could’ve been different because it had to be as in Donna wants me only when I’m gone.

It slams as in Donna and I fight through a closed door as in I’m on the inside as in the small things ruin the big things because inside the small thing the big is always lurking and will kill you quietly if you let it.

COME BACK Donna I beg as in aren’t you waiting on a definition of us to hold in your head or don’t you because you should be calling me as in calling my name.

Donna bursts back into the room wordless as in her mother’s taken my hand as in I don’t know if it’s because she knows me or because she doesn’t as in there’s a pain in each of us owing to every other life we’ve lived as in we can’t help the other for the other as in we’re hurting hurting hurting all the time.

Gloria breathes a man’s name as in where’s Donna’s father as in who was he to give Donna the clues to the footsteps in her life before he was taken too soon as in no no no it wasn’t his fault.


I’M CALLING THE DOCTOR I say as in I’LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU says Donna as in it’s all occult this business of being and not being yours as in it’s a secret I’m not in on and can never be in on no not me uh uh never.

As in enough with the texts which are too small too far too late as in I need Donna to have seen the light in my eyes without my telling.

She lies her face in her mother’s lap as in there’s too much that we don’t deserve forgiveness for as in with my dim slow awareness of our sorrows I’ve been wrong wrong wrong.

Between the words we use as nails her mother whimpers as in how else could it be Donna that every thought of yours is a gun to my head as in Gloria has stopped breathing as in there’s no one but us to be with us alone as in Gloria oh Gloria you were a part of me without me knowing.


Donna deserves herself as in stop god please make it stop as if tomorrow doesn’t belongs to us as if I don’t know beyond all moral proof that she could be better than me if she let herself be her real self with me.

Donna leaves me in the room as in me this upright column of shaky flesh peering three floors down watching her slip into her dented hatchback as I leave a text message unfinished as in SHOULD I EVEN is what I ask myself as in will you even read it as in respond as in want to want me when you do if you do?

Donna drives away as in everyone only ever hears anything in one ear if they hear ever as in each human wants someone else always as in isn’t this the best delivery of death?

The world which is never my own is a wet winding road as in all I’ve ever wanted was for you to hurry to me but only because you saw the light in my eyes on your own without me having to tell.

More than anything.

More than anything in this wicked, wicked world.

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