Couldn’t see.

Couldn’t move.



She kissed my body,

my clothes removed themselves,

he hummed “Crooked Teeth” while I cried silently

like I was at my own funeral,

wondering what I could have been,

how much time this was going to take.


She was going to be a writer, my mother would

hyperventilate, being the DJ to my death disco.

She was such a good girl, my dad would say,

not knowing that good

daughters don’t have threesomes.


I didn’t put up much of a fight,

just a few slurred Don’ts’, but don’t doesn’t mean won’t.

And I did, I really did.

I let them have their way with me like I was Thanksgiving dinner,

sweating turkey, panting gravy,

something that everyone could have a piece of.

I stared at the ceiling, 347 stars on one tile.


I couldn’t get my dad’s voice out of my head.

She was such a good girl.

I was such a good girl,

I am a good girl.


Jawed Decay

The happy days ended for you with your diagnosis

or maybe they ended years ago when your trailer

in St. Augustine burnt down,

when you had a kid and got married,

or when you started chewing the tobacco

that fast tracked you into chemo.


Remember how you pushed me into an ant hill

and my brother had to kick your ass?

You came over with purple eyes apologizing

for the bites,

bites that resembled the beginning stages

of the cancer spreading through your jaw.


If I had known then about your disease

I would have warned against using your jaw so much.

You could’ve saved it for more meaningful

conversations between you and your wife,

you and your baby daughter.

The happy days ended when you went

to the trusted family doctor who said you were fine,


he said there was nothing wrong with your jaw,

didn’t caution you to stop chewing

or quit smoking,

to go home instead of drive back to work,

or tell you that cancer is the leading killer of Americans

next to heart disease and stroke.


You carried on like any normal hypochondriac

for months before there was clearly something wrong

then you died in a hospital watching Happy Days,

wondering if you could have prevented this years ago

when you pushed me into that ant hill,

when you learned what sarcasm was,

when you started chewing.


by Jessica Farrell

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