Sometimes police knock on the door, sometimes social workers. A teacher has a concern about the odor and a word. She could have heard it anywhere and carried the dried-up word to school in a paper bag. It could have been a good opportunity to remind the entire class that items for show-and-tell must be school-appropriate. But the word was still alive. The word was licking her belly.
I remember a classmate breaking down because he did not want to live in what I now understand was an orphanage. He would be taken from his mother. He would have to bathe outside in front of other children. This was grade one, when finding the words for something made it so.
Sometimes we discuss The Wolf-Man or baby Jesus. There is an uncle who lives in Arizona and an old man who breaks into the house to eat cookies and deliver toys. These are miraculous days. Sometimes a hypnotist knocks on the door in the middle of the night, and Mother rises from bed to stare at his eternal spiral.
Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has two current books of poems: Invisible Histories and The New Vaudeville. His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit, and Cream City Review.