shadows cast on early mornings

cw: hospitalization

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.

gray balloon on table_edited.png

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.