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The Hot Irons

Author/illustrator of Whispers of the Goddess & The Quit Smoking Express. Graduate of the Long Ridge Writing Group & Institute for Writers


Please don't take this

the wrong way

but I am too fragile

and far too emotional,

more now than you may remember,

for this abbreviated and challenging world

I saw the shadow of myself

in her eyes

and I know it's too late

What chance did I have

What choice did I make

What road did I take

Will I stop hiding sugar

(and address that addiction)

and wear all my pointy toed shoes?

Will I hug anyone

or just my crystals and amulets

to my chest?

Forever, boiled chicken will haunt me

make me shudder

and I'll feel super guilty

like she always wanted me to

But now that guilt has transformed

because you never know

when you will be standing

on a sticky tile floor

that has not been rinsed

that has been bathed

in the sickness of the elders

When will the haunt of the

thick plastic


circular cafeteria dish

recede from my own memory?

The olfactory recollection of the scents:

pureed beef, peas, and potatoes

make my mouth water in disgust.

The smell of the plastic vanilla pudding

amidst the nearby condensation and a note:

"NO GRAVY" (heart healthy cardiac diet)

Yet there it is.

Poured over everything.

Brown and overdosed with salt.

It sits on the potatoes she refuses.

It sits on a smaller than normal teaspoon

and I feel the ghost of my father watching

Crying, screaming, and

the smell of elderly shit drift

mingling with the scent of food

that she will never eat

Drifting down every hallway

the only escape is the elevator

that no one told me the passcode for

So I cry, trapped in the scent of

feces and gravy

and I try to hide it from

the lined up men and women

sitting like hollow dominoes

all ready to fall

all ready to die

all ready to forget

decades of lives

Tangled in hospital socks

and painful IVs

sheets that hundreds have

already died in

sheets of glass so big

they mercilessly give view

to the outside world

boasting a place

they will never

be part of again

© 2021 Carole Anzolletti

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