Dead of winter, shadowing down
streets as black as any nightmare,
although it wasn’t even time for supper.
“I got dizzy, Sweetie.”
“I knows Mama.”
She came home from school and found
her mother on the floor. Her baby
brother and sister stood there by her,
scared. They had gotten home first,
tried to lift her. Impossible when the
dead weight of the curse was on her.
They couldn’t find her pills. They
brought her blankets and pillows.
“Where’s your purse Mama?”
“I ain’t got no money, Honey.”
Her mother looked ashen, like the
embers of coal burned.
“I needs to get your medicine.”
“I ain’t got no more. I was going
to the drugstore.”
Her purse was on the floor, right
next to her, covered by the blanket.
There were no more pills in the vile
she kept tucked away at its bottom.
“I get you a refill.” She pocketed the
container. “You two sup on that lunch
meat wrapped up in the fridge.” She told
her siblings. “Get Mama some tea. I
bring you back some candy.”
By now every predator was out there,
prowling through the icy dark: rapists,
muggers, gangbangers, killers. She
pulled on her winter coat, cap, mittens.

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