Fall 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 4 Poetry |

My Mother’s Abscess

The receptionist, in her marbled booth, jabs a pink nail into the phone. All day, maybe, she hasn't noticed the potted ficus between the revolving doors. The potted ficus! Maybe no one has noticed but me with my brown-bagged Dewar's and my fat Russian novel, on my way to the second floor waiting room where, a few rooms down, surgeons are slicing a loop from my mother's colon. A snake in the ficus tree? Sure, as though it had slithered out of some patient's dream, a red snake curled like a bowel around the ficus, little red snake like something out of a trick shop, curled around the skinny trunk of the ficus. When I was a kid I saw omens everywhere—a crow on the mailbox, a black cat at a ball game, that evil number turning up on Fridays …           I scratch my beard. Upstairs my mother lies drugged, beyond dreams, beyond signs, and here I'm spooked by the tiniest snake? A few leaves tremble, the body loops. The lewd head rises, little ch

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Dress Blues

By David Bottoms

The receptionist, in her marbled booth, jabs a pink nail into the phone. All day, maybe, she hasn't noticed the potted ficus between the revolving doors. The potted ficus! Maybe […]

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