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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 1, March 2018

Erin Farias
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Cold on the Shoulder

Mom is next door drinking with her pal, Mary, while dad lies on the recliner in darkness listening to Gordon Lightfoot’s “Cold on the Shoulder.” I tiptoe behind him, open the freezer just a crack so the light doesn’t disrupt, snatch the carton of cookie dough ice cream, eat it all, then purge. Smell of bile lingering, I bathe my baby sister, comb her fine white locks and tuck her away for the night. “You are my sunshine,” I sing, above “Cold on the Shoulder’s” echo. My voice is in orbit and she is my sun. Her school’s hot lunch form is on the counter, deadline tomorrow. I scramble to gather the empty beer bottles so that they can be turned into dimes to pay for it in the morning.

bottles rattling
on the way to school –
all I need is time

Note: The title is from Gordon Lightfoot’s “Cold on the Shoulder" and L3 of the poem is an adaptation of a line from the lyrics.



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