My cursive twists slow under the overhead light, under
the line, describe your mental health emergency: I write
the sentence, my brother was killed in a fire last night and
it doesn’t feel true so I pause before handing the form back
to the lady behind the desk. There is a dribble of quiet, radiator
clicking under a plastic fern, and then an exhale falling out of
the secretary’s mouth, a sigh from her swivel chair. I hear her
charm bracelet, thick as a wreath, crash against a stack of
Styrofoam cups. I have tea and doughnuts, she says, carrying
a tray and a paper packet of chamomile in both hands. I select
an unglazed doughnut hole, take a cup and heave a smile onto
my face. Hot water’s by the mirror, she says, pointing across
the room. I look and notice the girl sitting there, staring at me,
bobbing her leg so fast my own ankle aches to watch. I stare
back at her thigh rippling under grey sweats, her finger moving
to scoop the black mascara slugs away from her tear ducts. I
imagine her under the moon, shaking, too afraid to sleep after
the phone call from home, sidewalk salt sticking to her boots
as she moved through the night that shattered into morning.
Jessamyn Wolff is a poet and visual artist from Michigan, currently based in Boston. Wolff received her MFA in Poetry at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and her work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Hanging Loose Press, Conception Arts Show, High Shelf Press, and Prometheus Dreaming.
Jessamyn is a runner up for the Fall 2020 Sad Girls Club poetry contest.