The Water

An astrologer told you: a glorious son and a darkening daughter, and there she was, our R., for the fourth time that dinner hour filling to the brim a tall plastic cup, then sweeping it full to the floor; the night you were dying (though no one knew), hurling cups of ice at each other until you gasped, doubled-over: you never missed a fight, drowned girls who yearned to talk to each other—

She was autistic, fifteen, a torment, and you were her mother: elephant-legged and kidneys failing, twenty liquid pounds in each thigh; R. fills to the brim a tall plastic cup. The drowned speak through the water.

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