The inky butterfly across her neck
balloons and wavers with her confession:
bipolar, she drove her partner
through a bedroom wall
while her son, three, trembled under covers.
We share a lust for opiates.
She drools over Percopops
(a fond nickname for gnawing on Fentanyl patches),
and I’m more of a hydromorphone fiend.
I save her any chicken
the hospital inevitably places
on my vegetarian meal trays.
We split graham crackers
and make toasts to sobriety
with cups of orange juice.
She insists I blossom when I smile
and should pass out my teeth
to strangers on the street.
Tiny enamel pamphlets for all.
Years later, I see her pacing the supermarket,
gripping a bag of grapefruits,
shouting at nobody in particular:
Why you gotta keep lookin’ at me?
Jamie McGraw lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her pet hedgehog Bill, and recently earned an MFA from Queens University. Her work has appeared in Beatdom, Loose Change Magazine, and the APA journal Families, Systems, and Health.