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The Tantrum


Struck with grief you were, though only four,

The day your mother cut her mermaid hair

And stood, a stranger, smiling at the door.


They frowned, tsk-tsked your willful, cruel despair,

When you slunk beneath the long piano strings

And sobbed until your lungs hiccupped for air,


Unbribable with curses, cake, playthings.

You mourned a mother now herself no more,

But brave and fashionable.  The golden rings


That fringed her naked neck, whom were they for?

Not you, but for the world, now in your place,

A full eclipse.  You wept down on the floor;


She wept up in her room.  They told you this:

That she could grow it back, and just as long,

They told you, lying always about loss,


For you know she never did.  And they were wrong.


Alicia E. Stallings



Alicia E. Stallings.  From Archaic Smile, University

of Evansville Press; originally printed in the Formalist;

reprinted by permission of the author.

Background by
Yu's Diner

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