My mother, in the hospital—

phrase I repeated in my mind 
on the drive down I-71 S 
from our home to the Taft Rd 
exit, where the asphalt splits 
and I always take the wrong 
part of the fork no matter 
how many times I drive 
this stretch of highway. 
My mind won’t place me there, 
not today, or tomorrow, or  
those four days in December, 
when the drive became a ritual 
and in the evenings, after the nurses
said enough, it’s almost Christmas 
go home, sleep in your beds, not 
hunched over like a burlap bag 
of coffee beans on a storeroom floor;  
after enough forced us 
to the parking garage, our hanging 
breath our only blanket—   
I watched from the car window 
orange lights streak against rock salt 
and snow, and no one 
in our small family 
said a word.

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

Yasmin Mariam Kloth

Yasmin Mariam Kloth writes creative nonfiction and poetry. Her writing explores love, loss, place and space, often with a focus on her Middle Eastern heritage. Her work has appeared in Gravel, the West Texas Literary Review, JuxtaProse, the Tiger Moth Review, and Cathexis Northwest Press, among others. Yasmin lives in Cincinnati, OH with her husband and young daughter.