The Most Disturbing Thing I Ever Saw

Wasn’t the trackmarks between my friend’s toes
            where she’d shoot up on junk
            and allow oblivion
Wasn’t the dead man on the railroad tracks
            hit by the Amtrak headed for D.C.
            his body mangled and bleeding
Wasn’t the couple having sex in the mall’s back stairwell
            humping like animals
            on the cigarette-butt covered cement

            It was the sight of my mother, lifting my sister
            Onto her lap
            And bursting into tears
            As she told us our father was dead.
No child can handle
Seeing an adult crumble.

Mary Jones © 2003