She lines them up in a row. Launders them.
Their wet bodies fizzle in the crepe-canopy
of afternoon sun.
I’ve named them she tells me
over steady sips of soy milk.
My face unfolds.
“The Thorazine should stop her visions.”
Marie is the youngest.
The mirror ball charms clink against her ankles.
I think of shackles,
a glint of light across her thigh.
She sticks to coves in the morning.
By evening she pulls apart the dolls.
Their beetled heads separate from bodies,
candied apples pulled off sticks.
There’s cholera in the water, she warns,
That’s why they don’t cry.
Their corroded shapes contaminate the floor,
boxes of light where no faces exist.
Her medicinal tongue licks
in her mouth. There are white spots under
her eyes. She closes them.
Tucks her children into bed.
Sarah Brashear has an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She teaches English at Lebanon Catholic High School and coaches tennis at Lebanon Valley College. Her first book of poetry, On Beacon Street, was published by Cawing Crow Press.