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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Waiting for Saint Jude

She hands her son pills

watches him swallow

drugs to scare him sober

moves to the sink parks the glass

resumes peeling, chopping eggs

stares blindly across the marsh

rubs a paper towel

across her face blows her nose.

Snuffles, throat-clearing sounds

spin her around to offer

comfort, toast cooked in a

black skillet dancing with butter.

She sits, smokes coffee untouched

watches for tremors as he

forks food into his mouth

washes it down with juice.

His knees agitate as

he works his heels against

the kitchen floor.

He gags bolts for the sink

vomits, rinses it clean

She digs in her purse for pills

quickly checks the lock on the bar.

Jaw set, she refills

his glass, hands him

another dose of Antabuse.

Outside the dog stretches

in a patch of sunlight.

Marsh hens clack, Redwings caw

clouds drift on a spring breeze.

She recalls a time

when alcohol was

for swimmer’s ear and

egg salad and pan toast

could cure all ills.

© cj Schlottman

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