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
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