Cold on the Shoulder [poetry]

September 5, 2018

Mom is next door drinking with her pal, Deb, while dad lies on the recliner in darkness listening to Gordon Lightfoot’s “Cold on the Shoulder.” I tiptoe behind him, open the freezer just a crack so the light doesn’t disrupt, snatch the carton of cookie dough ice cream, eat it all, then purge. Smell of bile lingering, I bathe my baby sister, comb her fine white locks and tuck her away for the night. “You are my sunshine,” I sing, above “Cold on the Shoulder’s” echo. My voice is in orbit and she is my sun. Her school’s hot lunch form is on the counter, deadline tomorrow. I scramble to gather the empty beer bottles so that they can be turned into dimes to pay for it in the morning.

bottles rattling 
on the way to school –
all I need is time

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