Illustration by Anya Baker.

Illustration by Anya Baker.

January: A Fragment

After another strange birthday
cake that we didn’t even eat
because our mom was seated at the T.V.
and our dad was impatient for solitude,

my big sister gave me her sleeves
and took me upstairs to her bedroom
to give me a nauseous gift
from a crinkled baggie.
The next morning,
our mom asked what was so funny
about being nineteen,
why she’d overheard us laughing so much.

We blamed it on Coffee and Cigarettes;
she pretended to believe us.

By Claire Verbeck