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No Words Lecture Hall

You’re not the boss of me my son screams.
He’s tired, and thirteen, and skidding into
my and his sudden strangeness.
(Who is this woman who leaves her wine out on the swing,
crams wisteria in a drinking glass, can’t find a vase?
Who asks him to quit the 80 decibel belching.
She has grown foreign, and ridiculous.) 

He says to me, you embarrass me and he says I don’t want you
in my room 

I want to say, I love you. You’re

embarrassing me I love you and I’d
never lock you up. Never let anybody shock you
with 130 volts of electricity through your head.
Stick the bit in your mouth, spread
conducting gel on either side of your fine high

Don’t you understand how huge that is?
Don’t you see how that makes me a good mother?
I do say these things, in my mind.
Even there with a pleading, with a pitched


This poem appeared in the November 8, 2012 issue of the magazine.