My Therapist Asks Me Why I Haven't Told My Parents Yet


by Emily Paige Wilson

My illness is a gold-plated

           bowl of grapes—purple fruit rejuvenating


no matter how many hungers

            I’ve starved. My illness is an invisible


ink-carved scar, plastic shine admissible

            only when shellacked in black light.

What is to be said to parents

           who’ve raised one boy with autism—


almost diagnosed as deaf when words

           didn’t form like the weatherman said—


another boy with diabetes—body shocked

           by its own culprit sugar into comas?


What would I tell my brothers? 



If bones are too brittle a home,

           it will make itself known elsewhere:


a pain with no preference: eyes, liver, 

          muscle mollusk music every tiny movement.

There will always be more grapes.

           Yes, what would I tell my family?


Please, come closer. Cough on this

           directory I’ve stitched together,


this incomplete catalogue of my indulgence.

Emily Paige Wilson is the author of I’ll Build Us a Home (Finishing Line Press, 2018). She has received nominations for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and the Pushcart Prize. Her work can be found in The Adroit Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, PANK, and Thrush, among others. She lives in Wilmington, NC, where she received her MFA from UNCW. Visit her website at


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