families

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Mother Whore and the Monsters on the Hill

Published April 28, 2015 by April Fox

White paper stickers
on all of the doors, they stand battered
and closed,
wrapped in cheap metal, holes rusted
through,
they are children playing
dress-up in the whore mother’s
clothes.

Dirt track spreads her legs and welcomes everybody
in, tries to make her face a little
prettier
with wilted marigolds and
crudely painted wooden benches
dried out in the heat

Old dogs wear fattened ticks around their necks
like grotesque pearls, and in the violent sun, the licking
of the space below their tails seems less vulgar
than the angry lack of rain.

The smallest ones splash barefoot in a puddle
left behind, forgotten in the shade
where the car wash bucket sat

The older ones are bored on cheap throwaway cell phones
making plans for their escape
to the city
or the grave.

At the all-night Wal-mart, mothers stand in line
dressed in polyester aprons and comfortable shoes,
scrubs and slacks and dresses
and the dark masks of exhaustion
tallying up the grocery bill on tired fingers while the infants on their hips
gum the food stamp card and whine:
quiet sounds of being out
too close their bedtime

Later, in the night,
when the dinner’s done and the kitchen breathes
the scents of pine-sol and tomorrow
and the little ones are tucked in tight
in sun-dried sheets and pajamas
handed down from somewhere else,
textbooks and coffee on the battered kitchen table, the alarm set
for far too early in the morning
to start over,

Mother whore wraps her metal arms around them all
keeps them safe, if only just for now,
from the monsters on the hill
trying desperately to stick their dirty fingers
into the pockets of the beggars
they create.

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