The Dark Room


When I was in the summer before

my fourth grade I found a little itch

-bump on my tummy and my mother,

fearing chicken-pox blindness, kept

me in a darkened room. For two weeks

I lived inside night, shades pulled

tight, washcloths covering my eyes

and only my mother to come see me,

except once the girl down the street

brought a card she’d made with a rhyme

about pox rounded up in a box.

My father must have been away.

What I remember most was the story

she read aloud, about the forest and girl

named Lucy, who all the animals

spoke to, all of them living inside

a wardrobe full of fur, with a lamp

post signaling the way in, the way out.

My mother’s voice lifting me out

of my box, away from my skin rubbed

with bitter lotion, my hands she kept

away from my body. Beyond the cool

cloths, a grove of trees where children

called to each other in darkness

and were answered.



Thank you to Devorah Major for the title.

Published on Wattpad.