"What Is Your Emergency?" by Beth Gordon
You can’t see blood on black
sheets, can’t distinguish zinfandel from licorice, stand in a crosswalk
on a buzzing Sunday afternoon
and the impact of a car will knock you out of your shoes equally, medium
dark blue medium dark gray.
When you pull back the blanket, a sudden odor tries to warn you, metallic
and muddy, like rotting potatoes,
a molded towel in your grandmother’s laundry basket, the orphaned
mouse who died beneath the floor,
huddled in a crevice waiting for her mother to arrive with tree bark,
fungi and centipedes to satisfy
her Lilliputian hunger. No missing puzzle piece presents itself. You lie
down. You jump up with murder
on your skin, the remnants of a life that ended with a misused carving
knife, now hidden beneath your bed.