The day Alex was killed
a beautiful Vietnamese woman,
her mouth concealed by a
paper mask, crouched at my feet
to paint blood on nails.
I felt ridiculous on the throne,
all this attention paid to
my calloused feet.
So I asked her, “what is the loveliest
place in your country?”
In the cheap notebook I keep in my purse,
I recorded her answer, Hoi An.
A few hours later, Alex was gone.
Three months ago to the day
a pedicure, a death.
Still there are curves of mock blood
on the halluces.
Every time I wake, a red wall
of fear rushes at me
I pray for our four surviving sons.
The youngest just laughs,
“Mom,” he says hugging me,
“Just live like I’m already dead.”
November 13, 2016 by Madeline Walker
Watercolour by Madeline Walker