Here's How it Must Have Been

nods to Anne Sexton

She spoke to her own mouth: gunned down
the vegetables, the kitchen drapes, the bobby-
pins. I imagine, at birth, Anne wailed
to be still-born, maddened by the length
of her motherís umbilical cord- the possibilities.
Oh, what a slap in the face, the white, white
walls of the mad-house, the white of the womb:
a pitiful reminder. And the in-house doctor with his
smooth tongue like her father, the pusher. No wonder
she kept going back, back to the institution where
dinner bells rang at the nurse's hand and Anne
with her poisoned stomach, knucklebones rubbed raw
from her own teeth. The white of the toilet rim, the warm robe,
back to distant conversations beneath
the long silence of lithium, back to the steel headboard -
her mother's hip-bone.

Rachel Mallino's poetry has been published or is forthcoming in 42 Opus, The Pebble Lake Review, The Melic Review, Stirring and others. She lives in South Florida with her daughter. Rachel is also the editor for the online literary journal, Tilt. (rachelmallino@gmail.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761