The Damage Done

Photo by Rizvi Rahman on Unsplash

by Diane Gottlieb

Paula’s in the attic, wearing fur-lined boots. A splinter lodged into her foot last time she braved the floorboards in slippers, and a sterilized needle hadn’t kept infection at bay. Past bins with once-stylish clothing, past her son’s grade-school artwork still singing bright splashes of paint, Paula walks to the back, where photographs callShe knows not where her son is, not anymore—he’d answered a call he couldn’t keep at bay. He’s cold somewhere on the streets while she’s warm in the attic, in boots. Prisoners, both—he held hostage by a needle, Paula by a Kodak image: brown-haired boy, hopeful eyes, chubby cheeks. 


Diane Gottlieb writes poetry, nonfiction, and fiction—all of it true. You can find her at and on social media @DianeGotAuthor.


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