The father watched her through every
hall and door. It was as if birds
had come down to perch and left
droppings to be worn on her ears,
those dangling shit-hooks that made
the lobes itch.
It was like poking
someone with a stick so they would perform:
Play the piano, do the dishes, talk to me.
Her body was pierced by scents
that others never took on themselves.
The smell of smoke, of wood;
she wanted to wad the father into a ball,
slide him into a glass-maker’s furnace,
take hold of his throat, now a vase,
stuff it with violets, and watch him drown
in half-water cuttings.
Kathleen Vibbert is retired and lives in