Altar with Grocery List, CPS Forms, and Ball Point Pen, Out of Ink
The Waiting Room
Slowly, we are all being strangled by the minute hand. Next to me, the mother tattooed with “Out” on one arm and “Law” on the other, jiggles her bald baby as milk splatters onto my foot from the slurpy pink bottle the baby throws, just before screams ricochet like bullets. The whole room holds its breath when the diaper comes off, and sure enough, it’s squeezed out a mustard colored mass of jungly rankness . But it’s those toes, those sweet, pink kernels that get me…two years since…I check every box, wait, wait and wait some more till my ass is raw from waiting. Their number is called, and she gets up hefting the baby like a bag of sod as it spurts drool down her shoulder’s cobra tattoo. ”Shut up,” she says and yanks the arm of the other one. “Pampers, diet coke, ketchup, cigs” left on her seat where the boy in the Slipknot t-shirt now parks himself. I have my own list—ten must do’s to get the visits back. I still have hope, but I won’t let myself buy even one pink bib.