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Grand Mal Seizure

There's however it is you call,
& there's whatever it is
you're calling to.

July, I sew
my own dress
from calico & lace.

August, they take it
off me in the Colony,
trade it in

for standard-issue
Virginia cotton.
Not much room

The dormitory has a pitched
dark roof & a high porch.
We are not allowed outside.

Instead, we go to the window & make
a game of racing dogwood blossoms
knocked down by the wind.

Choose your flower as
it falls & see whose
is the first to hit the clay.

In the beds, the smell
of kerosene & lye.
The girls wake themselves

one after another:
spasm, whimper, whine.
Outside: cicadas.

In the distance: the bighouse lights.
Another truck comes loud up the road
bearing another girl.

There is whatever it is
you're calling to. There is
however it is you call.

Molly McCully Brown

The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded
Persea Books

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