In the Restaurant Bathroom

Kristin LaFollette

I washed my hands with
warm water and thought about
the last time I’d seen her

when I still thought her scalp could
be opened and the flock of cicadas
could be released
from inside—

The door opened and
two young
women walked in,
two girls in floral dresses

I knew and loved &

they saw the state of my
body, said they were sorry
to hear about her, the illness

that couldn’t be
removed or
One of them reached out and
touched my shoulder,

my skin flushed with
heat and then flame as they
hugged me

and all I could say was

thank you
thank you

These young women I loved,
unsure of how to talk about
grieving for someone
not yet gone—

Maybe it will all be better by morning—

Kristin LaFollette (she/her) is a writer, artist, and photographer and is the author of the chapbook, Body Parts (GFT Press, 2018). She is a professor at the University of Southern Indiana and serves as the Art Editor at Mud Season Review. You can visit her on Twitter at @k_lafollette03 or on her website at

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