by Laurel Paige
—after Grace Paley
One day I forgot Wellness and my hair fell out.
My honey-hued hair which promised, when braided and braced,
to help me
from my tower, my butter-brown hair
And my left leg, stride once wide as a sunset, has shriveled.
It lags behind the right, dark star dragging.
Because I forgot Wellness.
And wherever I go, I am known by how I say the word sordid
until it becomes a frantic chant, gorgeous as worship.
Because on one day, only one day, I forgot Wellness.
The Living everywhere, the Living who wear shades of purple
without asking for forgiveness, who speak language as if it were
a navigable map and not a diseased vine drying out—
Listen to me. Wherever you go, wherever the precious metals
of your moth wings drip, keep the yellow
flow of blood in your mind.
For I forgot Her and now I am bleached and badly limping.
Even my lover who keeps his depression locked
in a box like chocolate desserts
thinks I deserve
Laurel Paige is a graduate of the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. She’s intimidated by social media and talks constantly about her dogs, Lady Blackbeard and Madam Poe. Because they’re just that awesome. Honestly. Laurel lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where she works at a software company and gives readings at meaderies. Her work has appeared in Firefly and is forthcoming at The Conglomerate.