Resident Room# 216
By Jacqueline Morrill

Her yellow horse painting

No eyes

says it all.
Rear legs too short,

Raised by father

more like a hyena
on the side lines,

He crossed the lines of

overbite yelping with eager

Her little girl panties, their elastic waistband


By Jacqueline Morrill

Him:  You used to hide at night.
            Asleep mashed in the corner
            by the door. Blanket covering your eyes.

Me:    In February I was ice.
            Woke and saw you in the doorway.
            It wasn’t you at first but then,

Him:  I watch.
            It was just a dream.

Me:    I feel your jaw, teeth
            clenching from 3 feet away.
            Nails wet in my mouth from biting.


Me:    Your skin, dry wood:
            asking me please to give permission
            please be quiet please


Me:    Be quiet thank you stop
            I am pink, scratching swollen
            parts my fingers lock
            handled please

Him:  It is so very quiet

Family Values
after Andrea Yates
By Jacqueline Morrill

She finds me in the closet, hiding with Billy
overalls covered:               screams and sweat

We huddle against coats        boots,          lighters
thought she’d be too drunk to hunt
but booze is just watered
down heartache, she’d say.

Her breath is roadmap
Red landscape ending:
Volcano        her pupils.

My body is bird      flesh       wings      fell out the sky
Twenty-one oven thorns my body is mine
Adhere bone tissue your bleeding eye
My body is my body is my body is        burning

Mommy peels kid-skin from the doorway,

Curling against the acorn
Of her hip
Pocket-child tall as
I love you

the table we all eat

except Mary
Mommy doesn’t feed Mary doesn’t look at Mary just cries and cries and holds an orange bottle crushes white sand fine Mary cries holds empty bottle cries Mommy laughs cries bats the bottle to the tile Mary’s fine white crib sand on her lip Mommy rubs it on her smack together kiss she is quiet in the chair edge of the sand in her we all gnaw except Mary

For a moment I think of knees
beneath dry grass
even the locusts avoid our summer

Mommy blisters Billy’s face
brand-like scratches to mark
her territory he is
we are

Our ribs            our feet
Our skin            our belly buttons

all of it             property.

Mommy holds him down
so small
he will never escape.

Still      repeating his name
Still      holding his head under
callous      cold      current
Still      soaking her new apron
Still      smoking her cigarette

She’s looking at me.

Afterwards: at the dinner table
By Jacqueline Morrill

Head down.
Head drop.
Bring mouth to hand
where palm-hook held them under.
Taste the hairs of roots
metallic, hot.

Scare marks scratched along the wall

I broke them.
Veined in a river of spoil,
tendons like sharp grass
sturdy until snapped.

Jacqueline Morrill is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. She hails from Worcester, Mass.