Stumble Tumble Down This Animal Hole by Laura Madeline Wiseman and Andrea Blythe

My dress flip-flops over my head. Papa says, You’re naughty. I eat and drink, still hungry, unsatisfied by words on the page or pocket watches of time. I fall down a hole, one foot after another. My shoes kick the air. My hair brushes dirt, tangles in roots. Papa says, Don’t get dirty or muck about. This hole widens, grows larger. My hands brush a side table in the dark. My fingers flick a switch. Light blooms to unveil a world of descent—falling chairs, bed stands, old ornate mirrors. I nap for a moment. I nap for a day. One world slips away. I awake into a game of chance. There are keys on the floor to open doors, one to a garden, one to pools of tears. The one beside me is full of mice. Où est ma chatte? I ask. I lack a French tongue, but not a French kiss or a cat. I pace the hall of locked doors, matching key to lock, turning knobs that open. Papa says, Fallen girls are damned. I am fallen, a slip-shod collapse. I stumble into corners and collide with doors. Où est ma chatte? I speak to myself, my feline beasts, not my Papa.

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of over twenty books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence. Her collaborative book Intimates and Fools is an Honor Book for the 2015 Nebraska Book Award. She teaches writing in Nebraska. 

Andrea Blythe lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she writes poetry and fiction. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, including Yellow Chair Review, Nonbinary Review, Linden Avenue, and Strange Horizons and has been nominated for Independent Best American Poetry and Sundress Best of the Net in 2015.

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