[Table of Contents]


Marcus Slease


Her hair was a flaming red bun when she came through
the window and she spoke the language of mother,
wee pet and ach no following which she seized my hand.
As to be expected, my scream was silent.
Mother was locked in the arms of father smiling
as the old woman took me to her kitchen
where she baked and smoked. It turned out she was
an alcoholic. It turned out her hands roamed, her lips
sparked against my ears, her neck was well oiled
and swiveled around every time I tried to crawl
toward the door in my half-strapped dungarees
and wet nappy and she told me what happens
to naughty boys who wander too far from home,
how evil men take them to underground
tunnels and cook them in a stew full of rats
and cow heads, or, if they weren't cooked,
some Mormons might take them away
to another country where they will wear strange
clothing and begin to forget everything,
even the language of mother.


All in all, the language of mother is always in danger of extinction. Many of you may be familiar with "ach no," but "wee pet" may be on the decline. In order to fully embrace the language of mother three things are needed: exile, cunning, and a fully developed ear for ice cream trucks in the middle of the night.