The Idolatry of Feelings  


by Judith Skillman



Look here, I am sad.

Comfort me, the littlest one said.


And as for me, I’m angry.

Enraged. I see red. Like a bull

I’ll fly at the cape you sport

and use my horn to impale you.


Come now, the father said,

you must not cry,

as the baby whimpered,

its mouth-flesh just beginning

to contort like putty.


Remember yourself, you must not yell,

the mother said, as the hormone-infused

gangly one stood in the kitchen

holding Portnoy’s bloody steak,

the one he used to masturbate with

in the bathroom.


Soon enough girl and boy grew up.

Left to resuscitate not only

their parents but the earth itself.

This Hansel with his breadcrumbs, 

this Gretel with a stick for an arm.