by Sylvie Baumgartel

Sylvie Baumgartel

My father watches me climb
A pyramid and get beheaded.

Westinghouse washing machine says,
Doctor doctor doctor
On the wash cycle and
Good cheese good cheese good cheese
On the rinse cycle
In a squeaky voice like a rat.

My mother scatters wildflower
Seeds in her new perm.
At night she knits a green acrylic dress.
She’s waiting for the stones to tumble down
The mountain and smash the house
She’s waiting for another baby to save yesterday.

My mother combs out of her hair:
Lutefisk, a broom, a reindeer.
Wooden shoes, shortbread.
She braids me in, combs me out.

How do you make a brother?
At night we press our bodies into our dark sleeping bodies.
I thought my brother was for me.
I climbed into his crib and tried to eat him.

Don’t ever do that again
But I did.
I painted my toenails pink with stolen polish.
My father drove a truck he called Ghost.
I tried to eat my brother again but he was too big.
Ronald Reagan was very upset about the shuttle exploding.

My grandmother said,
Don’t go to Smith and don’t get fat.
Everything she saved for seventy years
I lost in twenty minutes.

Last updated November 08, 2022