A Domestic Tragedy
“Sadie,” said the Mother of Seven Daughters, “Did you remember to feed the waterbird this morning?” “No, Mother,” Sadie replied. “I believe it was Aurelia’s turn.” “Aurelia,” said the Mother of Seven Daughters, “Did you remember to feed the waterbird this morning?” “No, Mother, I believe it was Amaryllis’s turn.” And so it went, all the way from Amaryllis to Chloe to Bernadine to Valoria to Sue. So they all ran in their billowy white cotton nightgowns to the back porch where the waterbird’s mesh cage hung suspended from a beam, but it was too late. The wingspan, the peckishness, the trembling sentience, the song were gone forever, not even a bubbly smear left behind. Now the Mother of Seven Daughters has been dead for years, and the girls have grown up to be old in their larger but less billowy white cotton nightgowns. Every day and every night they rock in wicker chairs on that same porch where the episode of the waterbird is discussed frequently and with considerable vigor, though they have yet to determine which among them is to blame.
Claire Bateman | Mudlark No. 44 (2011) Contents | To the Pacific