Forgiveness is everything, the acupuncturist tells me. He says I have
toxic rage — that's why I get so many bladder infections. Jabs
eighteen needles in my arms and legs.
At the hospital, my hand is warm enough to touch mom's cheek without
her flinching. The doctors and nurses don't know I dance at The Sauce,
smile at me with respect. Not mom. That's why she's dying. If she could
talk, it wouldn't be better.
Before I leave, I tell her the story she told me when I was a kid,
about the old castle everybody forgot about because it was so
dilapidated. A princess lived there but nobody knew. She sang
inside the curling walls, the stones that tilted.
Later, after the show, a bulbous man in a black Mercedes says he'll pay
for a photo. Just you and me, he says. When he puts his arm around me,
I'm still sweating from the lights. I look like a Martian in the gold
tassels and pointy hat without the other girls dancing near me. I can
tell he cuts his own bangs.
Meg Pokrass lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter. She has work in
the new elimae and many other journals.
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200902needles.htm
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w i g · l e a F