When I went to bed I was 17 –
plumes of raven hair and cigarette smoke
wreathed my head and I coughed,
tamping the embered end before kissing
him goodnight -
soldier’s cap a tilt to one side
muscled chin blemished by lipstick
as the screen door flags between us, and
summer makes its last sweet
serenade to the dancing aspens
while momma chided my lackadaisical
fairy flight to bed.
At ten o clock I wake now
the aspens stand still, bare, black.
I look down to see
withered fingers writhing in tubes,
ugly blue veins, a strange
woman sponging my lady parts,
calling me “sweetie” like I was a child.
I scream for momma,
I look for him -
my love, my soldier -
starved for familiar faces, as
panic ropes its tendoned grip
through my ribcage, around my trapped
What have you done to me?
Strangers, monsters, *******.
I groan...no words come out, but
squeals and shrieks like a strangling
rabbit, my neck caught in a wire.
What’s wrong with me?
Where are you, my soldier?
Where are you, momma?
Why are they keeping me from you?
You see…when I went to bed I was 17.
When I woke,
I was on my deathbed.
It’s not fair, momma.
If I could do it over, I...
I never would have left him
on the porch, I
never would have passed you
in the kitchen, I
never would have slept
not one hour
not one **** minute
would I have willingly succumbed to
slumber with the faint hush of
to the blank slate of