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Words by Scott Laudati
the kids read goodnight moon to mom
before they went to sleep
and after the final goodnight mom realized
the children’s book she’d spent a year
writing would never be that good.
was her ex right? was she stupid?
the next morning she poured milk into
the kids bowls of frosted flakes
and loaded up the minivan.
she dropped the last one off
for home room and waved at the crossing guard.
then she parked the car
walked to the pitcher’s mound
and lit herself on fire.
a whole red box of diesel fuel
and a cigarette
she went up like a wood barn
but they dragged her off in time
and now the other mother’s
cup their hands together at her front door
and they share the blue pills
prescribed by dr. patel.
the kids got taken away and she started
reading the new york times again,
she never wore a bra anymore
and she traded the minivan for a mini cooper.
“do you miss the kids?” her friend asked.
mom took the orange pill bottle
between her index and thumb
and shook the pills back and forth like a macarena.
“not if i have enough of these”, she said.
they both laughed and tapped their
pills together with a “cheers”.
her ex was wrong. mom wasn’t stupid,
she was free.