Matrilineal | Daliah Angelique
I. when i was ten, my mom told me if you play the pussy, you will get fucked. i assumed it was a quote from Goodfellas or The Sopranos or something. if she wasn’t scrolling on eBay, she was taking in DVD rentals or The Book of Revelation. subsisting on Marlboro Lights, peanut M&M’s and Diet Coke. and she was always imparting wisdom this way: unprompted, urgent, and always with an edge of accusation, as if my acquiescent nods were telepathically telling her to eat shit. clearly, i thought i knew more than her despite the fact that she has been here longer, thought I was better than her, and I seemed to always wear an expression she could only ever describe as shit eating. eventually, I learned how to sit and listen without actually listening. so what i mean is, i learned how to sit. letting the words crash like waves. relentless and roaring. only water. just words. as if that isn’t everything. II. so much of womanhood is waiting / waiting for daddy to get home from work / waiting for the trumpets to sound / the seals to break / the locusts to come / the mark of the beast to appear on your hand / or whatever / we’re eating chicken pot pies for dinner / and she launches into her televangelist routine / as if Jesus is watching from home / something about Obama on the news had frenzied her into freezer burned eschatology / the congealed chicken and peas alternate between lukewarm and scalding / somewhere between New World Order and Hillary Clinton / the tuneless scraping of forks / i drift off III one night i’m dumb enough to have a friend sleep over. we’re huddled in the same rolling chair watching fan made Death Note music videos. an AMV if you will. my mom calls me into her bedroom. i walk in, stiff with dread. she tells me all the ways she had tried to kill herself. how none of them worked. betrayed by the pills that glimmered like green beetles in her hand. not even dropping her plugged in hair dryer into the sink saved her. she’s still here. like purgatory or a coma dream. i stand there, silent. then i walk back to the computer. my friend and i watch Charlie the Unicorn and it’s, like, so funny!
one time, at brunch, i meant to say “i hate it when my mom does this thing” but said “i hate my mom” by accident. realizing my cute little Freudian slip, i trail off and start laughing, chest heaving, hearty gales of laughter. because it was true!
Daliah Angelique is a lesbian poet in the Pacific Northwest. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Driftwood Press, Calliope’s Eyelash, Goats Milk Magazine, Oyster River Pages, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Off Menu Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, Spilt Milk, and NTCH Mag. She can also be found on Instagram as @daliahangelique