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By X.P. Callahan

Before she could walk she did the twist 

for us, her big sisters. Hooked her plump 

fingers over the crib rail and bounced 

like a beach ball in her white onesie. 

“What’s your name, baby?” “Bebby,” she’d say. 

“Last hired, first fired,” I say. To myself. 

Because it’s no joke for me to crack

decades later in her hospice room,

not even if she could laugh without

drowning in her cage of slosh and bone. 

Daddy’s sleeping, Mama’s not around 

and I haven’t learned how to be old.

Just older. My shadow angles long.

All the chairs and tables are so small.

trailing-off (Jake photo).jpg

About the Author

X. P. Callahan translates French and Latin American poetry and literary theory and distributes mail art through Monday Editions. Her work has appeared in Calyx, Rattle, One Sentence Poems, Terror House, Taos Review and elsewhere. She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is the proprietor of CENTORAMA: Happy Home of the Recombinant Poem (, and publishes the Diary Poems newsletter (Diary Poems | X. P. Callahan | Substack).

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