The 2River View 27.1 (Fall 2022)

Patricia Whiting

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There were overdoses every day.

Cakes and shrooms in pretzel tins.

Doppelgängers floating
through labyrinths.

Insects crawling on the sill
of the broken window.

Do you feel vermin crawling over you?

They’d meet at the gravel pit
just past the graveyard.

Sour scent of marigolds.

Flocks of dark birds
stabbing at maggoty confetti,

I have mixed emotions,
mixed emotions.

The bones of a life
no matter how you count the bodies.

There were overdoses every day.


The house is cold.
I’m wearing the fuzzy blue socks
my cousin gave me
two Christmases ago, when she still
remembered who I was—
a cobalt blue talisman that
makes me think of her
whenever I open my sock drawer.

In my father’s sock drawer
was a jumble of pennies, nickels, and dimes.
With quarters he could buy a pack of Kools,
supposed to be soothing on the throat;
and maybe they were, for the duration
of his short life.

The rain comes in torrents.
The street is a river where everyone
I have ever known comes swimming by.
I see them as if through the murky glass
of a laundromat washer, turning, shifting,
waving sometimes as they come into view.

Patricia Whiting is a West Palm Beach painter-poet. Publications include a chapbook and two collections of poetry. Her poems have appeared in Slipstream, South Florida Poetry Journal, where she is now on staff, Thimble Literary Magazine, and others.

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