Kaci Skiles Laws

Kaci Skiles Laws is a closet cat-lady and creative writer who reads and writes voraciously in the quiet moments between motherhood and managing Crohn’s Disease. She grew up on a small farm in a Texas town alongside many furry friends, two sisters, and a brother. She has known tragic loss too well, and her writing, which is often dark and honest, is a reflection of the shadows lurking in her psyche. Her work can be viewed at: https://kaciskileslawswriter.wordpress.com/

Good God

I’m tired of self      
I let myself out
when no one asks me to leave
I stay when no one 
wants me               until

                                         it’s so apparent 
                                       they are seething
I pine and dissect them. I exhaust
myself until I can start again
           Oh God
                                       I’m unacceptable  
                                    in all the wrong ways

no one remembers but me;
they pretend to forget until
I hate being chiseled,             I hate

not really knowing         
                                        if I'm being chiseled,
my imperfections                a cataclysm
                                          of self-loathing
                          Oh God
cycles of something I can’t name
because it triggers everyone

                                                   it alienates

I hate I hate I hate
                                                    my name

I want to change my face     so I change
my hair, every shade
      Oh God
the S word is the last symptom 
                 of depression
and everyone thinks it’s a choice
                                              no one chooses. 
                                  is afraid of the last symptom, 
                                                  razor teeth,

disproportionate disease,
life isn’t for us               in life we are tourists
of our shame our life finds us out
                                   Oh God
don’t let it get me. I am good  I am good
I am good                          I am good I am good
                      good God.


Stage One:

I can't remember when
the worry began.
It must have been before 
my sister's bed became the dark spot,
her door diminished
and closed, 

before she stopped eating,

before mold began pressing up into
the fibers of a rug over some
hidden crusts,
before the disintegrating pills surfaced 
for gritted question, 

a sob,

distant voices and the too quiet. 
Her feather feet                       quiet,
the walls                       quiet,
the dark spot     quiet, 
her door


A still house is loudest;
the worry is worse.

Stage Two: 

The doctor called it a
brain tumor after
a psychiatrist couldn't fix her,
and the worry woke up.

It followed her to the hospital, 
held her IV drip;
the dark spot stayed, 
and her door


She put my name on a bracelet
between some small red hearts;
the last letter was missing;
she could not find—I. 

I saw the worry
where the lost bead should've been,
in my sister's complacent stare,
in the indifferent eye—
the same as in our mother’s dejected gaze 
like a cancer;
it was eating everything. 

It ate everything but
the dark spot.

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