I was three, and you hid
The Little Princess from me
because I ran to you sobbing
when Ian Hunter repeated
a low, empty moan for his daughter.
“Saa-raah,” a slow pendulum swing.
Body contained by plaster, he
was wheelchair-bound in a world of
black and white.His blind eyes made mine cry;
Sarah stood facing him, and
he couldn’t find her.
The surgeries were mostly over,
but a tube still pushed itself down my throat.
Then you were there, said my name;
I recalled the headlights,
my sneaker in the street,
I tried and failed to speak.
Yellow liquid in the bag beside me.
Cellophaned sandwich on a pink plastic tray.
Your hands were cold.
Machines beeped, and I willed myself back to bed
While my lacerated liver regenerated.
Thoughts of the bandaged man
stayed with me for months.
The VHS tape was taking cover somewhere, and
at random, that blank, blind face sprang,
snake-in-a-can, out of my brain.
One night, alone in the kitchen,
I dragged a chair to the fridge,
climbed on top, and
tiptoed to my peak.
I pushed the Cheerios aside,
wobbled, stretched, caught my breath:
MOLLY JOHNSEN has an M.A. in English from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. She has also attended The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Anti-Heroin Chic, Calamus Journal, SiDEKiCK Lit, Virga Magazine and Dogbird Journal.