Lauren Reagan, Stephen F. Austin State University
The waterbed in my parents’ room
is the most stable thing I know—
every movement sends waves across the gray
surface, an action spurring an equal reaction
like Newton’s laws and the way
my mother’s eyes send back
answers in ripples, messages in bottles,
love letters in response to the secrets I spill.
Physical therapists find stability through motion
and patience; she puts on scrubs each morning
to help patients learn how to use their bodies
again, to understand the muscles and bones
holding them together. In the evenings, I, too,
earn stability through motion: we rock and talk
and it’s always been this way;
everyone tells me I look like my mother.
I got her blue eyes and the dark circles
under them, but also the chasing of light:
I hand her my brokenness, and she answers
God, cry for my brother
and she says progress, tell her about picking up
my drunk best friend at five
in the morning, helping her up the stairs and tucking
her into bed, how caterpillars work and work
to earn their wings and die, on average, two weeks later.
She offers carpals and metacarpals, though her specialty
is in shoulders and legs;
she only studied a human heart in a jar for eight weeks
but she knows it well.
I don’t understand the chemical imbalance in my brother’s brain
or how skin holds us together like fabric, how the waterbed
never popped when I fell onto it over and over.
When I see only shadows, she guides me toward light,
When I whisper Moth,
she says Butterfly.
Lauren Reagan is an undergraduate at Stephen F. Austin State University. She is from McKinney, Texas and is currently residing in small-town Nacogdoches, pursuing a degree in Creative Writing with a minor in literature.