Kyle Pearce CC
Mom’s Bedside Table
You did this was written
over and over across the pages
of her last diary. Bowed
with red ribbon, like a holiday
gift from Saks, alongside a row
of empty bottles, lined up
alphabetically, so paramedics
knew exactly what she took,
knew exactly why they
arrived too late.
Dying was her life.
She bawled at the sight
of a limping daisy, the brush
of a falling house fly. Her lashes
shimmered at the thought of a
gunned-down starlet. She lost days
swaddled in empty beer cans
over news of a fallen rock star.
Dad said she had a hyena’s sense
of humor. Feigning execution
to drive away the enemy. Howling
and chattering before she attacked.
Threatening her own life, to keep
her pups in line.
This time was more than a lie,
no ultimatum to make us behave.
No theatre to warn us she’s still alive.
She set the stage for more than a show.
We found her gazing up at god,
tucked in like a military cadet,
hands butterflied, as if she was
waving goodbye. Eyes empty.
The only time we ever
saw them clear of a tear.
M.R. Mandell (she/her) is a writer living in Los Angeles. A transplant from Katy, Texas, she now lives by the beach with her muse, a Golden Retriever named Chester Blue (at her feet), and her longtime partner (by her side). You can find her work in Chill Subs, Boats Against the Current, The Final Girl Bulletin Board, Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, The Bloom, Jake, and others.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.