Shannon O'Toole CC
(v.) to hurry away; conveys sense of urgency
Robert “the Bitter Dose” Hurst
I chant my numbers to mantra:
no male in my family made 30.
I know the jungle will suck mine
from my lips. Drag & pass, Blood.
Faith won’t fit in our rucksacks.
Here everything is abbreviation:
rain is piss; I call you Blood; Me,
I’m Dose: Mon.’s quinine defense
against mosquitos thick as rain;
bitter but Sugar, you know you want it.
Even legacy—babies & ancestors
won’t admit I existed. 19 yrs cropped
to discretion & the camera’s viewfinder.
In letters crammed with MREs reported
like occasions, Motown cursive in margins
wishing impossible daughters who will
erupt into blushes at the nightstand
where I am still warm as its exposure
in the only photo you managed to save.
I DREAM YOU ARE STILL
“The morning loiters,
you stay here
and you let me walk away
as if you were still.”
In naked light: glass. Can't write. Don't read.
I’m eating my vegetables, taking my meds.
Running a l'il piece again. Skin's clear; con-
tracts signed. The plants are green & full-
ish. This is what Well can look like.
In my dream you didn't go suddenly. Or at all.
From that side of the plane, you tell me I'm mis-
taken. I wake up though. This is also how Well
I suppose there are worse things than loss.
Even hard ones. Unexplained. Unfinished.
Take off the un- & still. Whatever power
the lost had in your life when they were
here is amplified once they’re ancestor.
I see it girl. Still, glass. You’re un- here &
won’t be here ever again. Well is the cost-
ume of glass.
I may have imagined it all. Glass seems trans-
parent. It’s always a distortion. Fragile &
dangerous. Reveals, breaks, cuts. Keeps us
at arm’s length; in or out. I’ve always been
good at keeping things in; adept at keeping
So how could you be or have been? Maybe glass.
You are un-here and won’t be here again.
This is what Well will look like.
darlene anita scott is a poet and visual artist based in Richmond Virginia. Recent poetry appears or is forthcoming in Rock! Paper! Scissors!, Kestrel, Stonecoast Review, and Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era (Routledge 2019), a volume of poetry and scholarship she co-edited with Drs. Emily Ruth Rutter, Sequoia Maner, and the late Dr. Tiffany Austin. scott's photography has recently been featured in Auburn Avenue, Barren Magazine, and Hot Metal Bridge.
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