Friday 5 May 2023

1 Poem by Peter Mladinic

Kids Change Everything

When she was eighteen she gave birth
to a son, Austin, who, his first week,
died a crib death in Arkansas. Austin’s
father, while she was pregnant, got shot
and died in her arms. Soon after telling
about Austin she added she got put in jail
for a week over his death. She didn’t talk
about him after that, and hasn’t since.
Then, at forty she gave birth to a girl
who is now five. Kids change everything.
The daughter is real, but I wonder if
there was an Austin who died like that.
Why jail? It’s sketchy. I was curious about
her criminal life. Imprisoned two and
a half years, in solitary three times for
fighting. I think she exaggerated and lied.
Did she lie about Austin? Was it really
crib death? Was Austin made up?


Peter Mladinic’s fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table is available from Better Than Starbucks Publications. An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico, USA.

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