I failed to thank you for the pulsing crimson cancers you placed in little stiff formal envelopes
and then jammed into the heartwood of my bones.
I have been ungrateful
for your vigilance in doing surgery to my neck
with the sharp edges of your tiny Japanese fan,
that I might not succumb to pride.
How diligent you have been,
cut, cut, cutting just a hair's breadth each time,
but repeated so lovingly for so long
that my head now lolls
and my new mouth is silent but lets my heart out in sprays.
I am abashed
that I have never properly expressed my admiration for your indestructible mask
that smiles within a flawless porcelain skin
while a roiling rot explodes underneath like a burst aneurism.
All right. As you wish, then.
We shall pretend
that you do these things because you love me,
and that they do not murder my lit nerves with hammers and snake venom.
I will smile,
sick and struck with putrefaction,
lying worse than a waterboarded used car salesman when I croak out, "Mother,
yours is the very face of tender kindness."
You will blush and preen on cue,
but we both know you will never really be satisfied
with anything short of my complete demolition.
for grapeling's fantastic "masks" challenge at Real Toads.