I scrutinize your mother’s face: if you had passed, the wrinkles behind her glasses would droop – do they?
Rumination does not serve to restore. As with all medical advice, I register yet continue, yet continue.
The ghost in ghosting may be you or me – our respective existences increasingly uncertain, a translucency.
No, but really, says the psychiatrist. On paper, the trajectory is clean, is feasible – his legal pad. I drowns between the lines,
first, middle and last names as hook, line and sinker. I propose scenarios: she’s on an MFA, incognito; reconstructive
surgery; forged passports; a new career under her brother’s wing; underground in Berlin. But let’s face it: there is no way
back in. Everyone has their bit to say about ships sailed, skies already fallen. Meanwhile, I envy my old self, the pink
peony cocktail dress that once embraced –
Back from doctors, from scintillating scans, you curled your aches within my body of waiting, of wondering how bad,
and breathed – your stoppable, somehow salvaged clockwork still lifting cracked rib after rib, rack of weak winter suns.
I put a hand on your thick black-and-blues, monitored for fevers – attempted to. You,
break of dawn made skin – four years in
and I still marvel that you happened, small stubborn fists balled up, screeching for milk, avocado, crackers – nothing
before you that did not conduct to you.
Your cherry cheeks now bruised, stitched thirty-five times by patient hooks gloved
white, glowing their disinfected silver salvation: one surgeon clasps, one nurse cuts off, one soothesays in her foreign
tongue, one sits on your knees while you scream like kitten skin unpeeled, like you four years ago, like you newborn – I did
not know that you had kept that scream.
I type texts to whoever wishes to worry – there are many – then drop my phone
and watch you sigh, watch you wince your courageous small. Dawn ribbons while I attempt to sing you into please, please,
carry on breathing.
-- Lorelei Bacht’s recent work has appeared and/or is forthcoming in Mercurius, Anti-Heroin Chic, Menacing Hedge, Beir Bua, Sinking City, Barrelhouse, SWWIM, The Inflectionist Review, After the Pause, and elsewhere. She is also on Instagram: @lorelei.bacht.writer and on Twitter: @bachtlorelei