After Anne Sexton’s Poem of the same name
The winter I was 15 I lived in a morgue of the living,
my mother had dropped her student teaching
to stare at the wall with my father. I’d find them
after school, large wax dolls, laying
in their waterbed. Asleep or awake,
it did not matter. The TV always on.
They swallowed pills like moth balls.
I did not know then that I’d now be grown,
eating deviled eggs with a parenting group.
Trying to forget my own childhood,
like the dream of being hit by a truck,
that shakes you so hard that when you waken,
you wonder for a moment how you will take care
of your daughter with crushed legs.
Rachel Mehl has published poems in Alaska Quarterly Review, LA Review, Portland Review, Poet Lore, and Willow Springs among others. She has an MFA in poetry from the University of Oregon and lives in Bellingham WA.