Us Has a Reaction to Bad Mother
Bad Mother showed first in my gullet. She throwed my voice and smutted up my mouth. My Older Self wrote most all of it down: I want to browse each crease of your infection-slick neck injury all morning with my unbrushed tongue. I built this house to be your body. No, it's true — I've always wanted you. I smoked light cigarettes somnambulating sangfroid in and out of rooms, sitting on everyone's chest while they slept. My Younger Self blushed heavy at Bad Mother blowing up my throat. Upset she shed a clotted cardinal nest in her bed. Before anyone could make of her, she cut irregular stains clean from the sheet, pilled the swatches, stoppered herself with them. She got quite toxic after a day. Rashing prickly, her skin sloughed off in crisp sheaths. She belched and nosed, fevered impolitely close on the couch, deluded herself a fallow sow. My Older Self yanked and bellyached after Bad Mother showed glottal when I spoke. Sitting down to toilet one morning, she observed her breasts dismounted from her chest, resting like two broken-necked geese in the crotch of the undergarments strangling her feet. Reeling forward on the seat, she scrabbled both curled beasts into a knot, slung the sagging stole around her shoulders and in a day, grew much older.
Bad Mother Carried
Bad Mother was the hardest head I ever carried. She licked my linings to spite me, bumped my omentum, skulldug the length of it just to grab my attention. Usually, I could time it right and took to poking myself in the belly gyre, gouging her eye in reply. I used to haul her in my paunch all around the country, even the areas cartographers had left uncharted, drawing instead cartoons of beasts in the margins of the map. Mid the icicular crag where a bominable lived, I wandered Our floe when my sex organ cricked. Bad Mother split cockeyed, started hiving. I think she liked not yet being alive. But my body had been rejecting her awhile, so this was her time. That bominable was most sage and moony, so to me she granted a hand sticking it in me up to the wrist, pawing around for a good grip. Bad Mother swears that bominable was asking to get bit. The head was already upset and didn't understand that birth isn't the choice of the birthed, but of the body, and mine was tired. Anyway, the bominable flinched but wasn't deterred. She pinched the head's bulbous nose, drug her out by the hairs. Bad Mother gasped for air and with each mouthful got smarter. Amid the afterbirth, rolled up and bowed with a braid of silver tinsel, was Bad Mother's homeland report. It read:
from the Botched Ŏther Ward.
Bad Mother’s Second Coming
Oh, but Bad Mother is mean. Returning home from Our wandering carry, Bad Mother carried on making a scene. Ours crossed threshold groaning bothly over terms of her birth and rumored proportions of The Ŏther. That's when Bad Mother crowed burglar, held her breath in malice, turned blue. The only thing I could think to do was assail her with blows, pry her open at the mouth. But her muscular muzzle wouldn't budge even as she lost consciousness. An errant brainwave of The Ŏther, stuck forgettable down in the basement, heard the scene unfold through the vents. The wave wailed up to me, begging not to call an ambulance for the purpling head. Bad Mother's eyes rolled back, strained from strangled oxygen. Her anoxic skull, all newborn malleable, began to crumple. I had to do something, I guess. I tossed the head at the hem of My Younger Self's dress. Before she wretched, I hissed: Put your lips on Bad Mother's and wheeze. My Younger Self got to her knees. As she breathed, Bad Mother's ears leaked pearl brain fluid on the stone floor at her feet. Nothing improved. My Older Self, stewing herself stupid alone in her room, thumped downstairs yelling tigerishly about unintelligence and prospects ruined. She plucked Bad Mother up, handling her as a sac of wet maggots. Cutting her eyes in my direction, My Older Self muttered, I wished it'd been you, not The Ŏther. And with that, she unbuttoned Bad Mother's scalp at each temple, rolled back the mouldered skin, punched out the top skull, and put much too much of her bestself earnestly into the folds of Bad Mother's frontal lobe.
to cackle, regain color, inflate.
My Older Self was mad I had
Bad Mother in the first place.
Bad Mother Galvanizes in the Cellar
Though the day was nooning heatly, Bad Mother locked My Younger Self out the house for squealing about Bad Mother's stash of skeletal bits. Bad Mother is always absconding to practice bodying wrongly. Well, the fusspot, My Younger Self, had the guts to venture off the front porch where she usually snotted begrudged until someone unforgot her. She slunk around the heavy mined side-yard, rubbing the landmark above her nose, when she found herself kowtowing over Bad Mother's unbolted meat cellar. The head has trouble latching, My Younger Self remembered. She inched into the gaping crypt, along the cement stairs, avoiding Bad Mother's trail of neck stains leading down. The bottom step felt much muculent, much humid, more frore. Upon standing up, her bare foot struck slick soil. Putrid sutures and loose live wires stuck between her toes. She balanced herself, was knocked back down by a shock from the rot and some sour iron stench. To the dark, her eyes adjusted. She saw shelves of busted lightbulbs hanged high on the back wall next to hulks of hogs and heifers sewn together, wracking unquiet. The sagging shoulder of one transplanted to the gamy sternum of another and so on. Nary a head where the head should be. Turning back toward the stair, My Younger Self slammed the thick, raw body of a stitched-up ham. Jerking erratic from residual sparks, Bad Mother's soon to be ex-lover inserted itself, malodorous paunch-first, into My Younger Self's thirdeye.
KT studied narrative medicine and poetry through the MFA in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts program at the University of California, Riverside, where she served as Poetry Editor for Santa Ana River Review. Her work is included in Peripheries, Foothill Journal, New Limestone Review, Peacock Journal, Southern Women’s Review, The McNeese Review, Turtle Island Quarterly, and White Stag Publishing. She is currently a second-year PhD student at Florida State University, where she specializes in poetry and serves as Book Reviews Editor for the Southeast Review.