How We Wear Our Weight

by Hannah Allen

As a child, I thought I was God.
So when dark and humid air lay into us
at a gas station in Havana, Arkansas
near the base of Mount Magazine
as my father stood outside
to pump fuel, raised his fists, and sang
angry hymns to God, I thought he
was speaking to me. I know I’m not
God now, that I’m just an organized
collection of thought-ridden mass
engaging in human activities: I’m
at the hospital, return from the cafeteria
or parking lot to find my father’s bedpan full,
his chest leads pulled loose, and blood
drying on the sheets. Easy bruises shadow
his veins that slowly track their way
down and out of his body, creating caverns,
galleries under his skin. Sue stands
outside the bathroom as he pees. She
measures time in cubic centimeters of urine
and after, we sit together, each in our own
measurements — cloth tacked together
for a quilt, a book’s pages flipped
and frayed, fingerprints across a screen.

 

Hannah Allen is a current MFA student at the University of Arkansas’ Program in creative writing and translation, and earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College in philosophy and German. Some of her recent work may be found at Hobart Online and in the forthcoming edition of Fifth Wednesday Journal.

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