What Happened to Marguerite?

By: Alicia Dressman

What happened to her daughter?
She could have been prettier,
smarter, happier, taller, kinder.
Somewhat like herself, but
better, anything at all but this.
What would she do with her daughter?
She wanted things to end quite quickly,
Looking at her was faintly sickening.
What if, what if, oh lord,
what if.

Maybe she would take her out sometime.
They’d make a stop at an ice cream stand,
look right and left before crossing the street,
and in between long glances
across the road,
she would go.

At the aquarium, wide open
gum-chewing mouth, staring at eels,
popping her gum and rubbing her nose,
”My aren’t the seals captivating,
look Mari, one is waving,”

Turn of the heels and dashing
out the door,
there she goes.

It was a Wednesday in February,
cleaning houses for office parties.
She took her daughter to a small closet,
four by four feet in a bedroom painted white.
Said goodnight and gave her milk and cookies.

Then she looked at her watch and hurried off,
and locked inside the attic loft,
huddled in a corner,
waiting for her mother to return,
a little girl of thirty years,
nibbling on stale cookie crumbs.

There was an old man who lived down the street,
“Where’s Marguerite?” he asked the lady.
He had no daughter like she had.
He lived alone in a red shingled shanty,
kept his glasses handy; liked to fish for trout.
“Where’s Marguerite?” he asked the lady,
She left him tanning in the shade,
and hid a key underneath the dirt
and grassy blades.