Adrift at sea in this clean blue room,
I cannot contemplate
more than doze, doze, doze.
“Where is your family?” nurses squawk like seagulls.
I pretend to be asleep.
The nurses bob beside me.
Where, where, where?
I cling to my light package and the bed-raft
til a supper tray waits and the gulls are gone.

One birthday party, I was the only guest,
A single square was cut from the white cake.
The other plates sat clean and empty at their settings.
The girl’s mother cleared them fast.

No cake today. We drift again,
lighthouses, red, blue, yellow, beeping. Swoosh, heating unit,
a great whale surfacing. I, we, drown a little.
Your hands are square, your father’s.

Elsa Bell earned an MFA from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her work has appeared in journals such as Qu, Midwest Quarterly, and The Cape Rock. She does not own a cat.

Appears In

Issue 10

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