Arlene Ang

So Mother Likes to Tell It

She was young. Hairspray kept everything in its rightful place or at least slowed the process of destruction. The first symptom was a baby. Her cousin, Claus needed to be changed. Previously, she was taught how to wrap the fish in newspapers. The tapeworm came out unannounced—the length of which would have buried a whole Hitchcock film. Her mother conserved energy by passing out on the floor. What else was there to do? She grabbed one end and pulled out the worm. She learned things that day. One, everything is detachable—except perhaps for this desire to belong to some body. Second, we are full of unexpected guests. If you listen carefully, you can hear that cap twist just before your father starts drinking from the bottle.

Arlene Ang is the author of four poetry collections, the most recent being a collaborative work with Valerie Fox, Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon (Texture Press, 2008). She lives in Spinea, Italy where she serves as staff editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Press 1. More of her work may be viewed at

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