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Ellen Welcker

“The Pink Tablet” wanders a fairytale labyrinth of violence and femaleness, wherein (like most fairytales) adults are incapable, unwilling or averse to protecting children—girl children in particular—from the dangers they face by fact of their own existence in the world. Confronted with various modes of aggression, the girls lay claim to the maze with a lupine ferocity. The poems that follow come straight from the middle.




from The Pink Tablet



once upon a time

there was one hell

of a mother


sharp teeth, and hairy all over

fierce was her love

and wet were her eyes


she was at times

a multiplicity

of pinpricks in the night


at times like a hole

they fell into


then nourished with earthmilk

and bathed in the hot breath

of mammals, every one


it was said

her children had

been raised

by wolves






they were all very much

little iterations

of one another


yet when they died

& were incinerated


each of the diamonds

they became

was a different color


of the blue one, the others invariably said

just the blue of her eyes


of the black one, why?

they cried


of the green one, she always did want

what was mine

& never


did they say wild thing,

oh you wild

wild thing—coiled like spring

your thing-heart a beat-beating

all sinew & pulse & impulse wild

thing I did I do I—


this was their boiled-down view

& no one could shake it


or even tried







the girl wolves

began to shave all of their fur

on Sundays, at first

then twice a week

then every hour

only when they were naked

did they feel seen





the shewolves loved a boy-band

the boy-band had great hair


they had risen to fame on a song

that could only have oozed

from the collective unconscious,                 

the boys were so fresh:


don’t stray

never stray


though even

if you don’t


don’t expect



their lips were luscious

& their smooth skin glowed

more nakedly than the girls’






as a top predator, your mom’s

health is an indicator.

the state of her den

says a lot. for example:

all he asks

is order.





Mom Jokes, or Some Commonly Said Things About Yer Mom:



—is mom circling again?


—yer mom’s so chilly, she’s hot.

—she’s a wolf I’d like to

milf. she’s a wilf.

—she’s got that itchy aitchbone,

she’s jonesin’.

—she’s been eating those milk drones.





once upon a time

there was a mother

who worked

like a herd

of manic office professionals


pulling rehydrated raisins

from the walls

of the washing machine


she lifts them eachly

she softens

and hardens them


gives them nothing

at all, a kindness

in the end

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