A Queen in My Blue Jeans

It is a week until Christmas and Momma is nodding out by the tree. In a thin cotton shift, she sits Indian style, one leg folded under the other, next to a kerosene heater trying to wrap presents. A burning cigarette in one hand. A pair of scissors in the other. A heap of ashes cradled in the fold of the gown between her knees.

Every time her chin hits her chest, she opens her eyes slightly as if she is straining against the weight of her own existence and says, “Get.” When Momma’s doing pills, she likes to be by herself. There’s something lonely about the sound of a pill being crushed against a plate that reminds her of her past, of her failures, of her victories. Or so she says.

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Tessa McCoy is a senior communications major at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Her poetry has appeared in Still: The Journal and Jimson Weed, and her short story “I Can Get Someone on Register 3” won the first Jimson Weed writing contest. She is currently the chief managing editor of Jimson Weed, a literary publication of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

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