Elderly women whisper 

Elderly women whisper: “marry a man that loves you more than you love him.”

Fall in love, get married and have babies. This is the unspoken rule. This is how life is lived.

A husband, a wife, a house in the suburbs. Fulfilling Big Brother complete. This is what we display to the public, social normative behavior. Wouldn’t want to stand out.

In that house, hidden from the public view, depression, irritability, wild thoughts and obsessive behavior. Brilliant minds are partially revealed, but the invisible force of the fear of nonconformity drives us to shelter those ideas most objectionable.

But what about happiness? A secret love, a passion, something more. Don’t let them see it. It is not allowed.

Out of earshot rapid ideas are exchanged between lovers. The conversation is stimulating, exciting, brilliant. The chains of normalcy are broken, excitement reaches a climax, euphoria is found in forbidden love making.

A secret is kept, for now the lovers live in painful longing. The roles of the nuclear family continue. Big Brother smiles.The grandmothers are proud. Conformity complete.




The fullness makes her feel grotesque. They say she should gain more weight than most since she started so thin. She cannot see her toothpick arms, her sullen eyes are trained for swelling. No calories today, she lies and says she has eaten. Strangers touch her bulging abdomen at the market, and recoil when they see her skeletal hands. She has not felt movement lately.

Soon her oblivious husband guides her to the sterile room. She ingests Valium. Just some pressure they say, as they increase the size of the dilators, just some cramping they say as they curettage her uterine lining, almost done they say, as the vacuum is turned on. The redness and pulp sucks into clear jars. She grins as she looks upon them, a great loss of weight. The pain and emptiness makes her feel beautiful.

American Denial

His blue eyes,
Fluid filled and
Sclera stained strikingly yellow.

Mechanical hum’s ambiance 
As machines consume him,
Refusing essential death.

Staff walk hurriedly by, attending
To mysterious tasks that lie beyond
The realm of his sickness.

Monitor pings send her running for a nurse,
Nothing of consequence, finger movement
Has set the oxygen probe askew.

She concedes once again to straightening his sheets.

He and I know death is near
But unable to speak he stares blankly –
Her fallacy is hope.

Eternal mechanical humming.
White sheets crisply folded over.
Denial has become her accidental prison.