Poison Control and the Old Neighborhood – Nicelle Davis

July 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

The woman from poison control asks, Do you have the actual

product with you? I saw the bottle on the counter—saw my son

in a thin lake on the bathroom floor. I need your help I tell her,

my voice breaking, I don’t deserve him—

    When Mary Lou from the old neighborhood
    lost her son, she drank a bottle of bleach right
    off the shelf of Mr. Garrison’s store. She bolted
    to the street—a steady stream of red pouring
    form her, as though the child had the ribbon
    of her interior and was running wild with it.

It wasn’t Clorox. It was window cleaner—generic

I manage to tell the woman. Not to worry, she says, often

such things are mildWatch your son

    for an hour. I remember as a kid visiting Mary Lou—
    her parrot mouth, tongue burned to a cylinder,
    toothless. She laughed at my staring, told me,
    Girl, I wear on the outside what love will someday
    do to your insides.

I hold my son close and repeat into the receiver Thank You

Thank You like a blue Macaw who’s only been taught how

to give thanks.

Stephanie – Zareh


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