May 24, 2010

Baby Dills

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Mother had a miscarriage
and kept the fetus
in a pickle jar
on the top shelf of the linen closet.
She called it her ‘baby dill’
and talked to it each time she passed
in the hallway
and at Christmas she hung it a stocking
where she kept her London Dry gin
and scratch tickets
while family were over.

As a child
the jarred fetus mother kept in the linen closet
was rather unsettling to me
but it paled in comparison
to the jarred one she buried under my swing set
out back
and sang old Irish ballads too
in the evenings
when she was drunk on gin.

Needless to say,
when I wanted to swing
I waited my turn at the playground up the street.
The few times I did use the swing set out back
I tried to remain elevated
as long as possible.
Each time I came down
with dragging feet
I always expected something to reach up
and grab me.


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