The Bad Seed


Can you tell by looking at my face?

The hidden shadows, the private pain,

Incestuous kisses in invisible ink.


Toxic mother: colder than the Gulag ,

smiled and proclaimed her love for me

when I knew it was a lie.

Fending off curare poison darts

a rip-tide swept me out to sea.

I wasn't waving hello out there

just flailing about for help.


A kick-a-poo kid, wild tantrums were my game,

Mother, a master of melodrama, beat me to the ground.

More talented than Stanislavsky,

she taught me to explode in style.

I learned to be an acrobat

yet every time I reached for hands

no hand was ever there.


Father: a petty tyrant,

I parried his lightning blows.

When I refused to leave my bed

a well-known shrink sat like an unruffled sphinx.

He thought he was a match for me

until I bit his finger and poked him in the eye.


No locked ward will ever hold me.

An empty can blown in December's wind.

They'll miss me when I'm gone!


Milton P. Ehrlich