top of page

  You could have a big dipper   

Nothing Left To Do But Wait by Samuel Milligan

There is something broken in my house.

Mama says it’s just settling as it grows

older but the cracks above the doorframes still widen.

Scraps of skin, gristle, bone return when

the sink backs up. Roto Rooter just shrugged

and said there’s nothing left to do but wait.

Mama lets me stay home from school and watch

television with her even

if I don’t feel sick.

The doctors tell me to lay on my belly

to keep the stitches undisturbed.

bright lights like a headache

the doctors pointing to the plum in my stomach

A shrinking plum, my father corrects.

But he’s wearing his face the way he does when

he confronts the waterstain in the laundry room

asking: Is that the same size as before?

Lights blink on and off all by themselves and

mold blooms bluegreen in

basement corners where silverfish

congregate dead. Now blood

in the toiletwater and everyone begs me not

to worry, that we’ll bother worrying

when there’s anything we can

fix ourselves


Samuel Milligan (he/him) teaches middle school English in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College but grew up in South Jersey, where listening to Philly sports talk radio perhaps permanently poisoned his brain and soul. He writes short fiction, mostly, and is @sawmilligan on Twitter

203 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page