Because mama locked me out when the white powder made her nose bleed and I cried and said stop and my eyes were her knives. I went to the doctor and he didn’t see the cuts, only saw the twitch, my eye twitching and thinking of heaven and he said, “What’s wrong? Are you on something?” “She is drinking me,” I tell the doctor and his eyes are like robots and he gives me a pill that says hush. Grandma says be quiet, you’re peeling the wallpaper and I can’t sit and drink quietly with all this noise, please make me another dear, make me another and the bottle has a hole and I see mama in there, her head pressed against the glass. I wait for her to look up, to see my eyeball against the rim but she is holding her breath and tucking her knees to her chest and floating like a comma. I wait for a man to come in but no man comes in. The door stays open- a torn tooth- and so I pour mama into the sink and leave her there like a fish. Get me one of your pills, grandma calls from the living room. I need some quiet. And her face moves like wax and her spine holds the wax up like a lady, like her mama taught her. Upstairs, the door is not locked and I crawl into the tub on my belly. My heart is a beating bird and I count it one, two, three and I wonder how long I can hold my breath in this dead sea and I suck everything in and begin counting.
Updated: Nov 20, 2019