Lorrie Ness

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It Was Everyone. It Was No One.

Not my cousin —
both his legs were in a cast.
And not my mom. And not her mom.
And that left everyone else.

I take credit for waking up,
blood and serum dried like shelf mushrooms
along the length of my lips. I take credit for howling
as mom blotted with a warm washcloth,
pried me apart in the tub.

Who did this?    I just woke up this way.
Who did this?    I went to bed alone.
Who did this?    What?

Why can’t you remember?
What do you mean no one was with you?

Mom fingered my scalp as if searching for an exit wound
where my memories fled. Then the truth is,
you did this to yourself.

I dried off. I got dressed. I smiled
and hugged my cousin, whose legs were in a cast.
And my mom. And her mom. And all my other loved ones.

It was the day after
Thanksgiving and eight people were waking up
at our house.


Lorrie Ness is a poet working in Virginia. Her work can be found at Palette Poetry, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Typishly and various other journals. She was twice nominated for a Best of the Net Award by Sky Island Journal. Her chapbook Anatomy of a Wound is published by Flowstone Press.