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When the social worker asks with whom we want to stay
Eric and I blurt out the word, Mom, with no delay, a tossed

Blanket on her still smoldering promise to kill herself if we left.
Eight and nine, we know nothing yet of pawns, only want her to
Live, so flip the answer we’d planned to give, fathom casualties
Other than ourselves, the rope and trophy tugged between parents.
Now we wait outside the courtroom doors, wonder where we’ll go to
Grow up, afraid this judge’s decision will end up killing our mom.


Jill Michelle teaches at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. Her poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cypress Dome, The Fox Hat Review, Wizards in Space, Please See Me, 86Logic, The Tule Review and Paper Dragon.

© 2021, Jill Michelle

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