by D. Allison Smith

Mother sits on the bench, 
Arm around her ten-year-old
Who'd been plucked from her home weeks earlier  Boston.
Hospital room, floors shining, Lysol
Wafts through the air,
In which sits three others:
One old woman and her book and
Two ladies chatting on the closest bench.
Old woman across from Mother and me scowls at us.
TV on in the distance.

I squeeze Mother  I'm still so ill,
Missing my Boston; our home: 
Small apartment covered with pink carpet; my friends:
Trees climbed and snow forts dug; the air:
Tang of seawater mixed in ancient cobblestone. 
And I sit in the heartland hospital; 
Stomach is ripping, nausea coming.
Third time Mother has brought me.
No one knows what's wrong; I'm only
Missing my Boston.

Commercial goes dead
Silence in the room,
And the old woman across from our pair speaks:
"Goddamn, niggers," she mumbles and storms 
To the room's other side.
Others nearest us jump in apology  so sorry,
"Can't believe what she said!"
But, it's too late.
I hold Mother tighter, 
Thinking only, 
As bile and chewed corn churn,
This never would've happened in my Boston.