Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes


for you


The truck hit my mother’s car from behind,

forty-five in a twenty-five, collapsing in

the trunk and pushing her forty feet

down 6th street. She had pulled over

to pick up Jeremy from work. He didn’t

even get his seatbelt on. My mom saw

the truck in her rearview and realized

and picked her foot off the brake and

waited. Something in her brain clicked,

flooding in chemicals that let her steer

the car straight forward as the truck bore down,

let her avoid other cars and people.

No one was badly hurt: Jeremy just

a little bruised; my mom’s back

sore for weeks. And with no one to mother,

no one to direct the energy of the crash on to:

my mother went into shock. “It almost

would have been better for me,”

she told me. “If someone had been.”


When you tell me about

the rape, it’s already over. The crisis.

You’ve seen a doctor, a therapist

(all fine), you’ve cut off contact with

your ex-boyfriend (he apologized?).

You’ve told the friends in close physical

proximity, the ones who can hold you

when you need to be held. You have already

stopped blaming yourself. I block

your ex-boyfriend on Facebook

(“You’ve blocked __________.

We’re sorry you had this experience.”)

Then, there’s no action for me to take.

My purpose, not for a plan of action,

but to sit with the story, hold it

close, and listen as it whispers.


Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes was born in Harrisburg, PA and has a BA in Creative Writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University. She has appeared or is forthcoming in The Birds We Piled Loosely, SmokeLong Quarterly, cahoodaloodaling, Mom Egg Review, and Whiskey Island. She has a chapbook, Patterning, from Corgi Snorkel Press.

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