The Bitter Truth by Jennifer Lagier

A health aide awakens mom,
administers her 8 a.m. methadone,
mixes lemon juice, honey, hot water,
offers saltines to counteract bitterness, nausea.

“It’s too sugary” mother complains,
despite no alterations to a concoction
identical to the brewed toddy
she praised yesterday.

Medication for terminal cancer
has perverted her taste buds,
stifled appetite, stripped every
mealtime of pleasure.

Mortality contaminates beverages,
once-favorite dishes,
ironically infuses soup, sherbet, tea
with insufferable sweetness.


Jennifer Lagier has published thirteen books, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle Press). Forthcoming: Like a B Movie (FutureCycle Press, 2018). Website: Facebook:

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