she lives in a one-bedroom; her cat died last fall. she sat
next to him when they put him to sleep,
but she couldn’t watch the needle entering his front leg.
there’s still a layer of grey fur on the chaise
and she still sometimes finds cans of fancy feast in her supermarket basket,
absentmindedly thrown in by the past.
she lives in a one-bedroom; alone. she thought
about getting a kitten, or a roommate,
but she’s too much of a person to seriously consider
explaining all of her idiosyncrasies to someone new.
peeling back all of her onion layers so they could see
her wobbly bits. she doesn’t even take her cardigan off in public.
she lives in a one-bedroom. she used
to keep her toothbrush in a coffee mug until
a coworker she slept with told her it made her look childish, so
she bought a fancy toothbrush holder with six holes.
she asked the woman at walmart if they had any smaller ones, cheaper
but the look the woman gave her was so drenched in pity
at the idea of not having five people to share a toothbrush holder with
that she bought it to chase away the shame.
her toothbrush looks out of place, surrounded by empty holes.
on bad days, she thinks it’s fitting.
—from Rattle #78, Winter 2022
Foster Schrader: “When I was younger, and I blew up balloons, my mom would tell me to take them away from my mouth before I inhaled, because the recycled air was stale. I write to get the words out, and so I can breathe again.”