The Madwoman Sits
by Ann Howells

The madwoman sits

___________________on her bedroom floor
watches children play beneath her bed:
cotton blond curls and chubby knees, pink
pique dresses and twill shorts. They
remind her of cousins back on the farm.
Her daughter, at least she says she’s her daughter,
tries to raise her, dashes, frantic, to the phone,
dashes back. The young woman looks familiar,
so the madwoman supposes she must be
who she claims. The daughter drones on and on
about dirty clothes, tugs at her dress, strips her
naked though she tries to cover herself.
The daughter sponges her, pulls a clean dress
over her head. The daughter, if she is her daughter,
is getting way too big for her britches!

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