"Today, you're the one frightened"
Do you remember I read to you those cloudy afternoons? You sat in
their big bed like a doll, dark eyelashes brushing flushed cheeks.
That mad artist, Pneumonia had painted dark circles under
your eyes, and played a merciless, barking cough that
terrified me (an article in one of Dad’s journals said coughing
could break someone’s ribs). Today, you’re the one frightened—
and I can’t make it better. Back then, ice chips soothed your throat.
Now, your name burns my screen as my careful words freeze in space,
find a satellite, then fall through your phone. If I keep talking, maybe
they’ll give you a moment of sweet relief, melting on the way down.
Madeleine French lives in Florida and Virginia with her husband. You may find her in front of a sewing machine, behind a copy of Persuasion, or occasionally on Twitter, @maddiethinks. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Roi Fainéant Press, Dust Poetry Magazine, West Trade Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, The Madrigal, Remington Review, Door Is A Jar, The Westchester Review, and elsewhere.