Lexi practices her times tables by
the number of knuckle shaped bruises
on her forearms:
five times five is twenty five,
plus two times sitting in the darkest
corner of her room counting the number
of teardrop stains on the scuffed carpet.
one, two, three, four, five.
She keeps her voice low, so that it never
rises above the television, never interrupts
any conversations over cellphones or social
media. Lexi wears the same clothes for three
days straight, and her teacher calls home
to ask if everything is ok—Lexi gets one hard
twist of the right arm, two backhands to her
small mouth. After the lights are off, Lexi
counts coins and dollar bills saved in an old
jar that she hides underneath a pile of stuffed
animals, subtracts the years left before she
can leave on her slender fingers--
eighteen minus eight is ten.
One hundred fifteen thousand two hundred
heartbeats a day. Twenty times a day holding
my breath, waiting for the pain to stop.
Bio: Kendall A. Bell's poetry has been most recently published in Philosophical Idiot and Work to a calm. He was nominated for Sundress Publications' Best of the Net collection in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. He is the author of twenty four chapbooks. His next chapbook, "Chasing The Skyline", will be released in June 2018. He is the founder and co-editor of the online journal Chantarelle's Notebook and publisher/editor of Maverick Duck Press. His chapbooks are available through Maverick Duck Press. He lives in Southern New Jersey.
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