Sharon Olinka

Issue #
September 27, 2015

Getting Her Ready

She hoarded cheap hats.
Price tags still attached.
Boxes of shoddy jewelry, matched sets
of necklaces, round earrings
with cruel binding clips.

Money hoarded too
when she had it, so that I rarely ate
good food growing up, though
there were multiple packets
of duck sauce, soy sauce
from the Chinese restaurant
nearby filling an entire drawer.

Never her own home with trees,
sun and shade, only a filthy
Bronx apartment, radios
blaring, drug dealers
outside like ravens.

Her shame the same
as when she was nine,
selling pickles on the Lower
East Side for pennies and dimes.

I did the small
task I could do: helped her put on
her old torn slippers,
the powder blue of the fabric
encrusted with dirt.

The new ones I bought her
months ago, she put

away. Never worn.
The EMS workers
strapped her in
carried her downstairs.
Her frightened baby screams.
                    EAHH! EAHHH! EAHH!
                    You’re killing me!
                    Who do you think you are?
                    Get away from me!
                    Goddamn you!
                    You’re nothing!
                    EAHH! EAH!
                    You’ll never be anything!
                    You piece of shit!

Her hip broken,
was the only thing
on her mind,
she kept cursing me
in the ambulance.
Would stay angry
in a hospital bed,
die that night of
heart failure, still lost,

I let her go.

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