Seuss-Hell's Bathroomcrackheads, I exiled them is what I did, from my son’s basement apartment, they’d come to feast off of what was left of him, his entrails I guess, he’d moved into that apartment with such high hopes even though it was on the bottom floor, and no light, or very little light, there was a girlfriend, she moved in with her two dogs and then they picked up a stray pit bull they named Svetlana, they were into all things Russian, and the girlfriend didn’t believe in housetraining dogs, like making them go outside in the yard was hurting their feelings or something, well she’d moved out, took the few things of value and left behind a concrete floor full of dog shit, and he, my son, I gave birth to him in 1985, it was a hard labor in a small town hospital and they had to cut me open, don’t knock me out I yelled, after all this I want to be awake when you lift out the kid, and I was, I was awake and they lifted him out, his skin painted with blood, his hands looked too large for his body, and he spread them out, and his arms, well, all babies wail so he wailed, and I hoisted those two dealers, I excised them, I pulled them like two bad teeth, and I didn’t have to use my hands, the smoke from the crack draped in their hair like cobwebs, I knocked on that black metal door, I knocked and they answered like it was their house, half-smiling like I was selling Girl Scout cookies, but what the hell they were fucked up, they didn’t know any better, and with my voice alone, with my eyes that I intentionally made keen like a hawk’s, I ordered them out, I threw their stuff out in the yard, in the rain, dog shit was everywhere, like pinecones or apples in an abandoned orchard at the end of summer, they rode away on bikes like children, like my sister and me when we were kids after a big storm and the drains were clogged on the streets so the water was up to our knees, riding our bikes through that water which must have been full of shit, my son, he was nowhere to be found, I didn’t see him until, what was it, later that night or the next day, he showed up at my house and put his hands on me, he didn’t hurt me but it was moving in that direction, and something in me rose up, like a deer I once saw that stood up on its back legs and roared, I ex-communicated him, hoisted him, my will by then was like a jackhammer or a God, or one of those queens who wears a dress made of stone, so don’t ask for my touch is what I’m saying, don’t ask me to now walk among the people.

Diane Seuss’s most recent collection, Four-Legged Girl, is forthcoming in October 2015 from Graywolf Press. Her second book, Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, won the Juniper Prize and was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2010. Her poetry and brief prose have appeared in many literary magazines, including Poetry, The Iowa Review, and The New Yorker. Her work has received awards from Indiana Review, Quarter After Eight, Mid-American Review, and the Summer Literary Seminars contest. Seuss is Writer in Residence at Kalamazoo College.

Artwork by Jeff Kallet