Limits by Jessica Parker


The lies that sputtered from your mouth and
landed amongst droplets of spit on my ear.
The lady at Kroger’s that kept walking,
picked up a bag of Doritos,
walked to the next aisle. The
click click click of her heels, louder in my head than your voice,
closer to me than your fingers dug into my arm.
The wall’s indents covered
with scotch tape and polaroid pictures,
the smiling faces sliding across the floor within hours.
The apologies that came with your
cold, dry hand sliding up my shirt,
lingering across my warm, smooth belly.


The human body has quantitative limits—

Lack of oxygen: 11 minutes
Dehydration: 7 days
Starvation: 30 days

What were my limits with you?
How many bruises? Pleas for change?
I have lost the number; I can’t say for sure.

But I have arrived.
Adapting. Healing. Onward.

Jessica Parker graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia Wesleyan College in May 2021. She earned a B.A. in Secondary Education, a B.A. in English Literature, and a minor in Special Education. While Jessica has lived in the great state of West Virginia for her entire life, she is relocating to Virginia, where she will be a middle school English teacher. While she aims to establish and nurture a love for reading amongst her students, she also has plans to encourage students to find their own writer’s voice. Aside from her love for reading, writing, and the youth, Jessica also enjoys spending time outdoors.