by Rachel Swirsky


Jacob’s wife is always screaming: Cheat! Scoundrel! Layabout! Scrooge!

Jacob takes solace in the mausoleum. Girls there are quiet.


He finds a dead woman, worms in her mouth. They court, cavort.

Three dead fetuses swell her dead womb, born blue and silent.


Dead triplets nurse blood from Jacob’s nipples. Their mouths become ruby

studded with dagger-sharp pearls. As they decay,


Jacob fixes them with pieces of mama’s skeleton.

Her finger bones provide baby-sized vertebrae. Her left scapula


replaces a brain pan. Every part of mama is useful:

stomach acid kills maggots, hair sutures flesh. Soon, Mama’s gone.


Jacob packs corpse babies in his truck. His wife comes to the door.

Meet your new step-mother, kids. She stares—outraged, confused, then afraid—


as triplets rush to claim spare parts.


More from Rachel Swirsky:

Rachel Swirsky Photo

Rachel Swirsky holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop where she supplemented her graduate studies with a life course on learning how to survive being inundated by snow. She’s published a number of poems in magazines and anthologies, including Mothering Magazine, Sybil’s Garage, and Electric Velocipede. Many of her poems are also included in Through the Drowsy Dark, a slim collection of Swirsky’s feminist short stories and poetry from Aqueduct Press.



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