What The Room Mom Hides

They pressed motherhood onto me like a mold,
threw me the keys to the minivan.
“Soccer Mom, or Baseball Mom?” they said.
I car-pool to the Ice Cream Social, nod at the Principal.

This is how I hide the snakes that seethe inside me,
a thousand snakes in a greasy snake-pit:
not one harmless garter or grass snake.
All are out for blood, all want
their next meal fresh and warm.

I do not try to make sense of it.
A pair of cobras, mated for life
rises behind my eyes to hiss and spit.
My tongue is an asp, flicking random poison.
A nest of vipers lurks between my thighs;
their hunger could suck men to husks.

The python in my belly squeezes slow,
nights when only wine can calm the spasms.
Look closely; you can see my skin
bubble and blister, as if about to burst
and birth my venomous children.
Keep watch on my ears, my nostrils, all my openings;
any minute a serpent might slither
out of my body like a worm
from the eye-socket of a pock-marked skull.

Meanwhile, I smile at my son’s classmate;
his mother and I discuss the buses,
how it’s my turn to ship the boys to baseball.
We never speak of stress.

Anna Evans

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