Two Takes after Russell Edson
by Marj Hahne
Author’s Note: First line from Russell Edson’s poem “Erasing Amyloo”
A father with a huge eraser erases his daughter. He doesn’t want to, but she
called him a shithead, and he doesn’t have a plunger for his own potty
mouth. The family steps all over the daughter, now orange bits of rubber on
the linoleum. The huge pencil leans against the fridge. When her next
birthday comes around, her twin sister won’t have to share the cake or the
half-moon earrings someone will give her at school. No more You’re prettier
than your sister from the boys: the invisible daughter doesn’t get seen.
A father with a huge eraser erases his daughter. He tried to draw her with
his left hand but could manage only the outline, like a ghost chalked on a
sidewalk. He wants to draw her again, this time with his right hand, and
fill in her liver and lungs and heart, even clothe her, but her black slate
silence enchants him. No woman has listened to him like this before, not
because he erased the mouth and larynx, but because he forgot to draw the
ears. Just what you’d expect from one who loves the sound of his own chalk.
Marj Hahne is a freelance editor and writing teacher, a recent MFA graduate
from the Rainier Writing Workshop, and the founder/director of The Avocado
Sisterhood, a membership organization for women and girl writers.
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