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nancy lu rosenheim : mother’s bottom half

Mother’s Bottom Half

When Eloise was a child she had a recurring nightmare.
Her mother would enter the house through the back door
Between the kitchen and the laundry room and
There, Father would greet Mother with a Sickle.
With a clean swipe of his right arm
He would slice her in half at the waist.
Mother’s bust would keel over
Stiff and lifeless as a wooden dummy
While her legs fretted in dizzy circles;
A chicken freshly slaughtered
before it misses its head.

Her seven daughters, they’d howl and wail
Championing their mother they’d take blows
At their father, bash him, inflict their anger
Honed sharp as poisoned darts
Then they’d evict him
Teeth bared like rabid
Wolves’ defending their right to safety
Severed bitch and her seven sucklings
Huddled at the kitchen sink

And then something strange would happen:
Mother’s bottom half (shod feet planted firmly
on the linoleum floor, panty-hosed legs,
Boxy woolen skirt ending at mid-calf,
Dismembered waist cleaved abruptly
In a bloody cross-section)
Would grow a new top.

The new head to the new top
To mother’s bottom half
Would become a (martyr) murderer.
She’d pick up her apron
Tie the strings in a neat Bow
Precisely where she would be re-lacerated
Dream after bloody dream
And she’d get on with what she had to do.

Mother’s Bottom Half

When Eloise was a child she had a recurring nightmare.
Her mother would enter the house through the back door
Between the kitchen and the laundry room and
There, Father would greet Mother with a Sickle.
With a clean swipe of his right arm
He would slice her in half at the waist.
Mother’s bust would keel over
Stiff and lifeless as a wooden dummy
While her legs fretted in dizzy circles;
A chicken freshly slaughtered
before it misses its head.

Her seven daughters, they’d howl and wail
Championing their mother they’d take blows
At their father, bash him, inflict their anger
Honed sharp as poisoned darts
Then they’d evict him
Teeth bared like rabid
Wolves’ defending their right to safety
Severed bitch and her seven sucklings
Huddled at the kitchen sink

And then something strange would happen:
Mother’s bottom half (shod feet planted firmly
on the linoleum floor, panty-hosed legs,
Boxy woolen skirt ending at mid-calf,
Dismembered waist cleaved abruptly
In a bloody cross-section)
Would grow a new top.

The new head to the new top
To mother’s bottom half
Would become a (martyr) murderer.
She’d pick up her apron
Tie the strings in a neat Bow
Precisely where she would be re-lacerated
Dream after bloody dream
And she’d get on with what she had to do.


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