SPOTLIGHT: lady bits by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

her way

when girls
my sister and I
were made to
scratch her back
and her head
until our fingers
came away oily

she said it was
nerves from
raising 4 girls

a doctor told her
to take a glass
of wine at night
to relax
but her faith
prohibited this

I told her once
how our symptoms
from nuts and
but she shut me
down, said
she didn’t have
food allergies

I let it drop
she needed it
her way

it was the beginning of the end

when she said
if anyone asked why
I couldn’t join girl scouts
or band or any other
school club
that required money
I should say
I didn’t have a dad

acts of god and mom

a quake hit
at the housing
way back when

shaking Mom’s
aluminum glasses
on top the fridge

I heard them rattle
upstairs in my bedroom
before the floor moved

it was the only quake
to memory
in all our years

Mom gave the glasses
to the kids
in Kansas
for some reason
or another

maybe to tempt
the tornadoes

interstate merging

more than once
I was trapped
in close proximity
to the disagreement
between Mom and
Great Aunt Anna
(pronounced Annie)

Anna’s view
on Interstate merging
was as hardboiled
as Mad Max

all those poor shlubs
driving to work
to the Ozarks
to the liquor store
and daycare
coming and going,
merging in and out
as was necessary
to daily life
in the byways,
were on their own
they were paid no heed
receive no mercy
from Great Aunt Anna

the merge lane was not
her concern not her problem
not anywhere on her radar

the worry of collisions,
sideswipes, tangled fiery
fatal carnage was the
singular fate
of the mergers, the slackers
who weren’t up to
the task at hand

Mom disagreed,
her voice two full
octaves higher
than normal

a hole in the sheet

after our first
was born
Mom came
out one day
for the whole day

made stew
did some laundry
found and mended
a hole in the bedsheet

took note of
every little thing
asked embarrassing
questions mothers
ask daughters
at these times

I hemorrhaged
after the birth
was very weak
that first month
weak as a newborn

at the mercy
of hovering


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