Sleeps under kitchen table.
Can’t sleep in bed, complains:
she’s in it – incontinent of bladder
& bowels. Decompensating.
Paid her to come over one night;
she never left.
Can’t take a shower, her daughter
(who sells smack out of the apartment)
complains: the tub is full
Don’t stand there!
Next to the box spring,
leaning against wall.
Spattered with blood
human and insect;
flecked in shed skin
& minute eggshells.
His wrists ringed in bedbug bites
& papule of burrowing scabies.
He offers you his hand.
I’d advise you not to shake it.
©2021 Jason O’Toole All righyts reserved.
Jason O’Toole is a Rhylsing Award nominated poet, musician, and elder advocate. He is the author of two poetry collections published by the Red Salon, Spear of Stars (2018) and Soulless Heavens (2019). Recent work has appeared in anthologies, and journals including Neologism Poetry Journal, The Scrib Arts Journal, The Wild Word, and Vita Brevis. He is a member of the North Andover, MA Poet Laureate Committee.