shadows cast on early mornings
In the dim copper glow of the night light,
with the bokeh of my astigmatism,
I make out the silhouette of Val,
this pregnant lady originally from Tijuana,
laying on her side cradling the extra pillow the staff
had gifted me that I gave her. I contemplate waking her
to tell her I love her like a mother
and give her an open later letter for her baby boy.
I decide against it, instead, I lay flat
on my back, tugging on the neon green
string attached to the silver get-well-soon balloon
from Mom and auntie, watching the orb bob
up and down, up and down as the shadows
of the blinds cast bars against the wardrobe,
reminding me I’m not free yet.
Filipino-American writer RACHEL ALARCIO’s poetry and prose has appeared in or is forthcoming in the winnow magazine, Rogue Agent, The Lumiere Review, Exposition Review, at LAX’s Terminal 7-8, and elsewhere. They are a Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Silver Medalist in Short Story. She attends Kalamazoo College. Find Rachel @rachelalarcio on Twitter, @raechillout on Instagram, and rachelalarcio.com.