Three Poems – Jennifer E. Hudgens


The Room

A small, cold room,
is better than no room at all.

The biggest snow in 100 years,
downtown-Reno, NV.

Surviving on mustard packets
and fingernails,
is better than not surviving at all.

One small window, a television that gets
one blurry-static filled station,
one shared bathroom, where
one male resident collects my hair.

He writes letters, and tapes them to my
dingy, gold doorknob,
one dead bolt lock, it is the only thing 
keeping me from being murdered. It is
better than no deadbolt.

Pneumonia, keeps me safe, sweating through
clothes, through bed sheets, an old, flip
phone takes what might be my last photographs.

My eyes-sunken, lips purple, 
I start to lose my mind,
writing letters to my mother:

Dear Mom, you were right, I’m sorry.
Dear Mom, you were right, I’m sorry.
Dear Mom, you were right, I’m sorry.

Quitting Time

The wedding ring that no longer fits, he
hands to me in a sealed security envelope.

A wife, after almost 38 years, he is still unsure
how to love her properly.

Empty amber prescription bottles; Dilauded, 
Norco, Lorazepam, and Senna.

A mouth full of saints, slobber, and puss,
it smells of rot, of losing.

Clocks are the cruelest of villains.

Oxygen tank turned up, he still cannot breathe,
the rattle in his chest is deafening.

Increase the dosage, it hurts, it burns, he
is constantly uncomfortable.
(We just want to make sure he is comfortable)

We hold his large, purple hands, and kiss his humid forehead.

He’s afraid to fall asleep, he talks to my sister,
sobbing, gasping, deliriously telling her she is loved
before she boards her plane.

There are no more two-sided conversations
after this one, he falls asleep.

Cigarettes and the sun, they ruined everything.

Friday the 13th, 2 a.m. we opened the window.
Friday the 13th, 4 a.m. his body leaves.

Tiny Bones and Dust

Your body is a seven-pound plastic bag,
full of tiny bones and dust.
Your wardrobe is a cheap twist-tie.
Mama, she seems like she’s doin’ fine,
she sleeps all day, and crumbles in the dark.
Finally, you held my hand without reluctance,
you called me your baby girl,
you were so sweet, so delicate, and so breakable.
I lose time.
I want to carry your tiny bones and dust around my neck.
I don’t care how heavy it feels.
The moment you stopped breathing, we stopped breathing too.
We’ve stopped moving.
I am tired of seeing unopened packages 
of Peaches N’ Cream oatmeal,
chocolate pudding packs,
and chocolate milkshakes.
I am tired of finding t-shirts that you 
don’t wear anymore, 
my body is too plump with existing.
This world does not make sense without you.
Your wedding ring, your gold watch, my body.
I told you it was okay to let go.
I wasn’t ready.
I will never be ready.
What am I supposed to do with your tiny bones and dust, Daddy?
I can give handfuls to strangers, 
tell them our story, I don’t feel like I have a story anymore.
No air, no sky, no time to grieve, or forget.
I have forgotten the sound of your voice,
the echo of your full-bellied laugh,
the sweet smell of your skin on the day you left us.
I’m just this lost, little girl, 
with a cheap, white, cardboard box-
full of your tiny bones and dust.

About Charlie Wortham

This is where my poems live, for now. View all posts by Charlie Wortham

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