The Right Words
My sisters play Sorry on the floor, take turns drawing cards that might send them home. The
nurses climb over their game to check his vitals. I pad around in socks for two days as if
wandering the dorms at college. They warned his heart would burst my freshman year. He lived
through graduation; I refused to walk. I am a poor monument to a shrunken god.
There is an hour when he gasps so hard, we are sure. No green beating mountain range on a
monitor, only his breath: shallow sea with fickle tides. Every book I’ve read this month kills a
EMILY O'NEILL is a writer, artist, and proud Jersey girl. Her recent poems and stories can be found in Muzzle Magazine, Paper Darts, Sugar House Review, and Whiskey Island, among others. You can pick her brain at http://emily-oneill.com.