January 1998 / Volume One / Issue One
NOTE: This poem is divided into 2 parts. Click the ">" at the bottom of the page to access the next.
Alice Cone
Mother of Cannibals

Her real son, her own flesh--
the one who coiled out of her womb
with his open mouth and hungry eyes--
says that after his death he wants his body
to be donated to cannibals, that he wants
to be auctioned off at a cannibal convention.

You see, he understands their need.

Like all children, he ate her from the inside out,
from the beginning, suctioning her blood and
then sucking her milk, always eating away
at her attention, ripping holes in all the days.

Of course, every on of her sons understands.

Her mid-life baby, that midwife, that husbandman and
sorcerer-- the one who slid from her thighs
like a snake, bringing her with him, newborn,
sprouting leaves he turned to gold-- he says
he has dreamed of nights by the fire,
heads on fenceposts, the turnspit
stuck down his throat.

So maybe he bit some flesh from her forearm
in order to learn to form
new syllables with his fingers,
and maybe she sliced her ear and
fired it in an iron pan to make him listen,
but who can say what he's digested
or whether the fiber of his optic nerve
has been strengthened at all?

Anyway, everything regenerates;
there is no depletion, even though he says
he has also dreamed of the knife
between breasts, of the thrust,
a body hitting the ground.