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©2018 Barren Magazine. An Alt.Lit Introspective.

At a Restaurant the Night My Son Died

by Chanel Brenner

I sat across from him,
shooting his portrait with my phone.

His charcoal sweatshirt faded
into the dark booth.

He played tic-tac-toe
in the dim light.

I should have known
something was wrong,

when he scribbled his X’s and O’s
like a toddler—

should have known
his brain’s weak vessels

were bleeding again.
Should have put down the phone

and looked him in the eye.
Should have noticed

his half-eaten ice cream
melting in the bowl.

Previously published at Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Fall 2017.

Header photograph © Charlotte Hamrick.

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