I visited her in that place they sent her after she tried to kill herself. The staff and the patients dressed the same way—mostly jeans, sweats or leggings with t-shirts. The only way to tell them apart was the patients didn’t have shoelaces. Their sneakers gaped open, eyelets wide, tongues flopping around as if spewing words.

Weeks later some woman stopped me in a store.

“I know you,” she said. “We met at the hospital.”

I vaguely recognized her face but didn’t recall her name, couldn’t remember if she was staff or patient. By habit, I glanced towards her feet, but it didn’t help. Outside of that place everyone keeps their shoes tightly tied, eyelets blinded by laces, tongues lashed down and silent.

***

Beth Moulton earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont College, in Rosemont, PA. She’s been published in Affinity CoLab; Bartleby Snopes; A Clean, Well-Lighted Place; scissors and spackle; Circa, A Literary Review and Fifty Women Over Fifty Anthology. She lives near Valley Forge with her cats, Lucy and Ethel.