photo by repentandseekchristjesus Unsplash

by Mikki Aronoff

Exotosis…halitosis…cirrhosis, Gram intones as her gnarled right index finger presses down the digits on her clawed left hand—one for each actual or dreaded malady she claims, her brows angled in agony, more for the diseases she fears than the ones she has.  She slows as her memory takes a long breath. I stare, waiting, screw and unscrew the cap on my thermos.

At sarcoidosis, I butt-shove my chair backwards from under the shaky card table, heels helping, inch by squeaky inch.

At ehrlichiosis…vaginosis, I zip my backpack, drag it over to the window.

Leptospirosis…histoplasmosis…necrosis…and Gram’s running out of fingers, so she casts her cloudy eyes down, considers the abacus of her hammertoes pointing skywards from her pink fuzzy scuffs while, two stories down, mother chain-smokes and coughs smoke rings in the car. 


Mikki Arnoff plays with words and advocates for animals.


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