Trigger Warning: Depiction of Illness

The Whole World is Made of Boulders

One time I found my brother seizing
on the floor and thought if I lifted him it would stop
but he was too heavy

even though I had picked him up seven thousand
times before         I thought I could be an action
hero when I was a kid and was certain I was born to
scale mountains and leap from place
to place like a grasshopper who hates my hands but

now the whole world is made of boulders         I told
my friends I knew every word in the dictionary
and I believed every word I used to say it         I used to be

so angry at my parents rushing away in the
yellow-red swamp of hospital lights, leaving me
to make sure my sisters shower         I blamed
my brother for his sickness       and then kissed him a million
times        I was eleven when I did eleven chin-ups
in a row and thought I could stay hanging from the monkey bars

I went three days hungry on a bunk bed the first
time I lived away from home        and watched the air harden
into rocks around my head         I sulked in my room
after the ambulance stumbled off with my parents
and brother         I didn’t tell anyone to do anything except
leave me alone         I was supposed to give him
medicine         not pick him up off the floor

I want to say my shoulders hurt         I want
to call myself mother and think I’ve carried
the cracking sky        bled my feet on its shards
as my family rides piggy-back


I’ve been selfish        I made up
the rocks         they’re not there and I

will always be a bad child

About the Author
Adina Polatsek
is a writer from Houston, Texas. She is currently studying at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work is influenced by her Jewish identity and upbringing, as well as the complex dynamics of family. You can find her on Instagram @adinapolatsek.