Jaime Warburton
The Pantoum Says Everything Twice

       The Pantoum is my therapist. Doctor Pantoum. Herr Pantoum. Herr-ess. "How do you feel
       about that?" Pause. "How do you...feel? About that?" I sit on the Pantoum's couch. In my
       mind I'm watching a woman with gray hair, red bandanna, and dream-catcher earrings eat
       a sub sandwich at a bus stop. I haven't eaten a sandwich in over a year. Maybe that will
       save me from becoming her. "Your mother? About, about your mother?" Becoming her is an
       entirely different matter. It's her hands now, already, on my lap, knuckle-bumping, vein-
       knobbing. When did that happen. "Do you remember, remember you do?" I do. I did. I did
       until I didn't but I always do. My mother in the bathtub. My mother in the hallway, ghosting
       over the vacuum. My mother in the kitchen swinging between the counter and island with
       ex-gymnast arms. You should get a samovar in here, says the busstop woman in my head.
       Half a sub left. A little oil at the corner of her mouth. I could teach you how to make Russian
       tea. My mother and her kettle with internal thermometer. My own internal thermometer –
       I've lost it. Who can take my temperature. Where is my fever now. "What are you thinking?"
       asks the Pantoum. "Are you thinking? What?"

How to bone a duck:

Pluck her. Pinfeather her. Stuff your pillows well. Recite her a poem before bed. Watch out for a sharp zygomatic. Tell her about the year in middle school when you were fat. Fuck her on the floor, still wearing sweaters. Then go away, after saying you won’t go away. In return? Not dinner; here’s a country song: I ain’t changed the sheets since you left/ your keys are still on my ring/ dirty kitchen sink knife looks like a good way out. Is that how it goes? Even Anatidae love Dolly Parton, but we’ve got so little practice singing, less promise than soup: just humming to ourselves at the fronts of empty Vs, just wondering if we’re landing in lakes or in hot pots, holding only onto iron in our beaks, pointed back at you.

Jaime Warburton completed her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College and is currently an assistant professor of Writing at Ithaca College, where her students pretend to listen to her even though she's clearing living in an alternate universe. Her work has recently appeared in or is forthcoming from journals such as Prick of the Spindle, The Southeast Review, Gargoyle Magazine, Storyscape, and Word Riot, and her chapbook Note That They Cannot Live Happily is available from Split Oak Press. Jaime can quote along with any episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. She has not yet found that this is a marketable skill. You can keep up with Jaime by visiting or following her on Twitter @JaimeSWarburton.