(Ivan Albright, 1929-30)
It is strange becoming your mother watching the pills line up
stalwart soldiers fighting battles your body can no longer win
It is weird looking for the sympathy that I never gave
Realizing (perhaps) that she couldn’t eat,
you can’t eat
so many things you can no longer swallow
You spend all night grinding your teeth
Grinding away for those things denied
Things, you only dare to dream of
It is hard, sometimes, seeing your arms scrawling with thin red stripes
Crisscrossing like a bad map to nowhere
Your once fecund bush, now a sparse and empty scrub.
Even your legs have forsaken you, they ache, and you know
Your body (your only body) is faltering.
You look in the mirror, see her reflected back
Cover the mirror in black cloth, mourning
the losses looming, black spots mar
A Baltimore-based artist and activist, Marceline White’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Orchard Review, The Indianapolis Review, Atticus Review, Snapdragon, Little Patuxent Review, Please See Me, Quaranzine,Gingerbread House, The Copperfield Review, The Free State Review, The Loch Raven Review and others; anthologies including Ancient Party: Collaborations in Baltimore, 2000-2010, and Life in Me Like Grass on Fire. Essays, op-eds, and other writing has appeared in Woman’s Day, Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Sun, and Mother Jones. When not engaged in activism, she can be found learning how to better serve her two cats, posting too many pictures of her garden on social media, and reminding her son to text her when he arrives at the party. Learn more at marcelinewhite.com.