I was sixteen the last time
I saw you sitting on the couch
of the group home as the TV
blared repeats of Jeopardy.
You were a beached whale, content
& we didn’t talk about lithium or
why the phone on the end table
didn’t have any batteries.
The only photo I have is the
one your mother gave me
between packs of cigarettes.
It was of you at senior prom,
wearing a cheetah print dress
with black flats. You’re standing
against the sun’s glare, smile out of focus.
Sixteen years later, you
spoke only in circles,
and to the empty space
beside me. I didn’t interrupt,
or come back.
Once, a boy asked me about open adoption.
He was freckled, with green eyes
that crinkled at the corners.
All he knew was he’d been born
somewhere in Washington.
He used to talk about driving
there to find them,
but I just stared into his eyes
if you don’t.
Elizabeth Evenson-Dencklau is an author of fiction and poetry. She
holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska at
Omaha and shares a home with three cats and her boyfriend, all
citizens of the Midwest. Her work has recently appeared in Typehouse
Literary Magazine, Menacing Hedge, and Gingerbread House Literary
Magazine, among other journals.