Jody Azzouni


Killing Its Parents

Originally published in Grue Magazine 14, 1992
Added 5/19/2021
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Killing Its Parents

Poem | Jody's Notes


What a thing to do to a child: put

it in a sandbox, and watch

as everything slips through its fingers.


When it is old enough to take revenge,

it will plant a hex in the cellar,

water the markings with dust,

and watch the tombstones grow.

From then on its hands will be the wrong shade

no matter how much it washes them in light.


Years before the bodies are packed away,

the ghosts will be about,

lurking in bathroom mirrors, its mate’s face,

the gestures of its offspring;

and staring surly,

should it try to look at itself

or at something it loves.


Years before the bloodless deed is finally done,

it will hire exorcists:

paying dearly for the couch rites

of the strange doctors

who dabble in the dark arts of therapy.

Each evening

when it could be in bed with a friend,

it will polish the totems in the cellar

until it is time to mark the pale stone

with names and dates

and move them out to the graveyard.


And on that day,

it will find offspring playing there,

soil running through their fingers

like sand which the sun has baked

to the color of shadow.