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.