Invisible by Mark Petrie

Heading home from San Diego, somewhere
on the desert stretch of the I-10 between Yuma
and Gila Bend, Dad closed his phone and said,

“We have to stop to visit Mr. Craig in the hospital.”
Exiting: an anonymous landscape, marked by sentry-
like saguaro. Behind a mountain we arrived at a sequestered

building. For the first time I questioned my father’s
judgment. In the lobby, a muffled laugh from behind
the double doors. The labyrinth: unhinged faces lined

the smudged glass; I found the laugh: a woman in a
wheelchair, her body wrapped, a sea shell. Dad patted
my shoulder, sighed. In the room, the nurses straightened

Mr. Crag’s spine for visitors. Dropped-jawed and wide-
eyed like the nutcracker in a gown, red wet, he scanned
me and my flip flops, and he bellowed, “Who put me in this

desert with these devils and why did you bring this boy
to watch me die?”

Mark Petrie’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Artemis, Lunch Ticket, Blackheart Magazine, Geist, Citizen Brooklyn and other journals. He lives in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he is a doctoral student and University Fellow in English Literature/Creative Writing at the University of Louisiana. He is the winner of the Academy of American Poets/Andrea Saunders Gereighty 2012 Poetry Award, the 2nd Annual Geist Erasure Poetry Contest, and he received honorable mention for the 2011 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry. For links to more of Mark’s work, please visit

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