by Caitlyn Curran

As we drive to the clinic
her rage is a heavy stone,
shining and valuable.
She changes the lyrics of the country
songs on the radio into something
about chopping her ex’s balls off.
We always arrive only just in time,
the Methadone waiting thick and green
in its quiet brown bottles.
This drab building looks
almost warm, a chapel
of coming-and-going devotions
to this tedious god. Each dose
a heavy pane of stained glass
depicting a sleeping woman.
And she sleeps like this for five years
on the old blue couch, holes deep
in the upholstery from letting the pet
rats root around and nest.
When Mom gets home, my sister wakes,
slams doors, screams:
I told you and you did nothing. I was a child.
Because nothing ever happened
to my body there, at the babysitter’s
house, the one with three sons.
Because my sister laid down
instead. Now, we drive
to the clinic, smoke weed,
watch TV. With her help, I haven’t been
to the seventh grade in a month.
I have my first bout of acne,
my face unfamiliar and ballooned,
so I stay home and we delete the messages
from the school coming through
on the answering machine.
She makes me veggie scrambles,
steams a washcloth
with tea tree oil. With both hands,
she holds it to my cheeks
and closes her eyes.

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