Under the porch light, 

my sister smokes a joint,


her only source of warmth. 

Not my hands, so easy to hold


if she’d share the air between us, 

reach out and touch me. 


Why can’t she see it?

How sunken she’s become, 


fingers long and fragile

like icicles hanging from the house. 


How long will we stand

in silence with our shadows?


Her wrist shakes.

Something’s loosened in her 


she can no longer tighten.

I think, I could help her, 


hold her together, 

carry her weight in my arms.


I’d do that, it’d be no burden 

to give her the warmth of my body 


if she asked for it. 

But I’d need something– 


hope, a sign, anything

to tell me she’s there. 


She pulls a lighter from her pocket,

takes another hit. Inside the house, 


someone turns out the light



Hunter Parsons is a poet from Metro Detroit. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Maryland. Her work has been previously published in SLANT Literary Magazine and Stirring: A Literary Collection. Hunter believes that the most beautiful moments in life are the ones she promises to write down but probably never will. When not writing, she enjoys serenading the strangers she meets at stop lights with whatever song is her favorite that day.