Neva Ensminger-Holland

Please Remind My Mother It’s Not My Fault

That my body has betrayed us more times than I have 
fingers and toes. That we’ve spent the last four Valentine’s 
in the same dirty linoleum-floored waiting room. That all the open 
signs were dark on the drive home. That the United States 
doesn’t have universal healthcare. That I wore thin, 
yellow paper masks to school. That my sister hates how 
the living room smells like paint thinner when I’m done 
with the treatment. That when the technician showed us 
the x-ray on the lab’s TV, my lungs were shriveled up 
and glowing. That blood draws leave bruises that last 
for weeks, even after hemoglobin levels go back to normal 
and I’m no longer anemic. That I have a resting sad face. 
That doctors’ offices don't have the glossy tabloids with the who 
wore it best columns anymore. That old men don’t think 
it’s funny when I get seen in the emergency room before 
them. That bacteria build up resistance to antibiotics 
and become unkillable superbugs. That I’m becoming 
a hypochondriac, solely because Google is free 
and I like staring at pastel infographics about all 
the grotesque ways it could be worse. That some days 
I can’t ignore the pounding in my skull. That COVID-19 
didn’t give her the customary 3-4 business days’ notice 
before killing 600,000 Americans. That her genes 
were faulty. That mine are too.

Neva Ensminger-Holland attends Interlochen Arts Academy; Ensminger-Holland tied for second place in the Charles Crupi Memorial Poetry Contest for Michigan High School students. For more information on the contest, please visit the Albion College English Department website.

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