During Visiting Hours
by Paula LaCour

usually at the cafeteria table
stained white plastic top
rusted metal legs
we sat quiet; never seated
on the same side.

the day i broke the mirror
while barricaded in the stale
bathroom, she had instead
met me in the courtyard
on a picnic bench littered with leafs.

i was housed with girls
who had tattoos at puberty
lived with dealers
made a choice between
food and drugs
and chose the latter
girls that sold themselves
and their friends.

but when i stumbled free
from that bathroom
drenched in red and crying
those incurable girls
went doe-eyed with fear.

my mother's words
from earlier that day
vibrated the walls
you can't come home
we are afraid.

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