On most days, my father wakes early
to turn the heat on, the scent of warmth
overtaking the home, masking the stench
of last night’s burnt dinner.

By now, my mother has been tucked
away, and my father brews
a pot of coffee, enough for two.
As he sits alone in that quiet house,

my father considers
the last three years:

the cold and damp mornings spent waiting
in unwelcoming lobbies, the ambulance fees
every time my mother could not stop herself
from swallowing pills, driving six hours

to the hospital and back every night
because the ones closest to our home
were too close to all of the things
that reminded my mother of home.

Michelle DeLouise is currently an undergraduate student at Hendrix College, studying English and Creative Writing. She can often be found tripping over her own feet and spilling coffee on everything she owns. She is currently working on finding her footing in the world of literature. Her poetry has been featured in Rookie Mag and Rising Phoenix Review.


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