Madelyn Garner Sundowning


The evening meal served, chair cranked to its highest setting,

until over her head a vestigial moon

appears in the window.

Her eyes are open, cadaverous

in a face I recognize as a sharper version of my own.

Her mind has emptied out its pockets.

This agitated stranger picking at the threads of her gown,

who strikes out at me without warning, leaving

a red tattoo on my bare arm.

My soothing attempts to calm her even though

there is no stopping the echolalia of m’s,

parade of fuck and cunt.

Shrieked obscenities. Toward me?Toward God?

How I hope He will forgive me

for wanting in the moment of a single heartbeat

this lost woman dead.

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