“Assisted Living” — M. Stone


The lady who brushed my hair this morning and gave me something pulpy and sweet for breakfast buckles me into the backseat and drapes a crocheted blanket over my legs. She sits up front beside a man who looks like Jack and I hear her say a name I think I once answered to.
We stop at a light and across the street pink balloons are tied to cars lined in neat rows—pink for Valentine’s Day but no, the trees still have leaves so it cannot be February.
I want to go back to the old house where Jack died soon after he coughed up bits of lung cocooned in blood. Back where I vowed I’d never let myself get so far gone I couldn’t climb the hill behind our property on a winter night with some pills and whiskey and rest peacefully beneath all the star patterns I didn’t learn.
Now the lady tells the man who looks like Jack it’s for the best and I don’t yank at this belt buckling me in, I don’t cry. I just keep my hands in my lap and pluck at the blanket because I know I have missed my chance.





M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry and fiction while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, Calamus Journal, and numerous other print and online journals. She can be reached here.