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Growing Pains 



Blood dripped down my big toe when you told me. 

A Facebook group chat, black 

letters on a gray box: My sister Anna’s dead, disconnected 

from the machines last night at 11:52. My steel 

clippers wouldn’t cut deep enough. I ripped off

the dead nail, licked the red—it tasted of freezer 


burn, of meat. The keratin scythe

from my toe pressed against the phone,

I called you. Told you I added water 

from my eyes to the squash soup 

I made last week. Told you my drunk 

roommate puked on me yesterday 

and that I pulled out my eyebrow hairs 

as she rolled and mashed the vomit 

around her into the gray carpet. 

Told you my name means wolf in Finnish 

and that my computer was 220 degrees 

for three days after I used Rita’s printer 

when I ran out of ink. Remember, 


at that high school sleepover, 

when my blood’s pull, like the moon’s, 

drew red from between your legs 

though you were on pills to suppress 

your cycles? Remember two years ago 

when the steam from the backyard Jacuzzi 

made us dizzy? When we crawled out, 

you stumbled, and when I caught you, 

you said that you were no longer 

pregnant, that Joe had gone with you 

to the clinic. Now, you say 

that the dialysis catheter raised bruises 

and swollen veins but didn’t clean 

Anna’s blood. You say that you’d never 

noticed before: diabetes, die-abetes. 


And I say that last week, while hiking, 

I found a pigeon’s severed 

wings. Without thinking, I tell you 

most predators don’t eat them. They 

just take the body. 


Reprinted from Likely Red Press 

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