Belly Ache

by Anne Silver

She complained about the mess of raising kids,
so I changed my own diapers and bib.
She complained about the mop and the shopping,
so I traded my trike for a Hoover, a scooter
and took care of it all. Then she complained
she had no friends. So I wore a girdle, stockings
and a shirtwaist and we gossiped over tea.
Then she complained I wasn’t twins, so I chopped
myself in two. To take care of her complaints
about the old man’s deficiencies, I wore pants
hung on thick suspenders. She complained
about her thinning hair so I shaved my head
and gave her my locks. She complained about
the heat so I became a feather she used to fan
herself until winter. She complained I looked
like her, so I lopped off my breasts, tattooed roses
on my cheeks. She complained I was living the life
she deserved, so I gave her my house, my car,
my lover. Then she complained I had nothing,
so I robbed ten banks. Now she complains
in my dreams that she’s lonely being dead,
so I bit off my tongue to stop me from saying,
Coming, mother.

Anne Silver is an international expert witness when court cases involve Chinese, Hebrew, Farsi and English handwriting. She holds advanced degrees in poetry and psycholog and is a winner of the Chester A. Jones contest, the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs’ contest. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Speakeasy, Massachusetts Review, Southern Humanities Review, Spoon River, and California Quarterly.