June 14, 1968

 

To: Dad

From: Uncle Sal

 

 

Hello again Mister Shackled Spectacles,

 

Old war injuries have nothing on marrying two cracked nuts. When do we set out the goddamn party bowl? The wife is no more roses than the crocheted toilet seat covers her mother sent us for Christmas. It’s a shade of red blistering with the stench of the wife’s crotch. You’ve lived that odor, Catholic boy. Bloody women deflate the appetite. And Grandma Irish cabbage spits on any Jew’s holiday, especially Hannukah. She should be fumigated as well. Stinks of mothballs and Saviors. Nothing more aggravating than a wilted wife guided by her stained-glass brood.

 

Yes, I read your last letter. Hysteria is a reminder to keep up the medication. Don’t let the wife in on how many. Crush them up and serve in whatever beverage the wife is kin to. Mine stains with a nice Brandy. Puts her to sleep like the ghost of me hauling out trashcans. You’ll learn. The recipe for an alluring woman is just the right cocktail. Ambushed by muted memory. She is all you anticipated in bound whipping posts and just the right thrust.

 

Brother. Let her swallow the you that is forgotten. Let her swallow your monster grunts and groans, instead of creamed onto toilet paper after she passes out.

 

Sending you the last letter I signed for the wife. They have a date set for her. Electro-Convulsive Therapy. It’s the tattoo of the future. Welcome to the wifedom of vacancy.

 

Don’t climb the stairs in the dark, brother,

Uncle Sal

 

6 Comments

  1. Martha Jackson Kaplan

    Meg— you’ve given me nightmares. This is no run-of-the-mill abuse. Vivid. One would hope it’s all fiction but fears it might not be. xxx000 lady.

    Just one picky note — the to/from. Dad? Uncle Sal– maybe frame this as a “found letter” that the protagonist finds so that “Dad” is then inferred. Somehow I don’t see Uncle Sal addressing the note to “Dad.”

  2. Jonathan Cardew

    Meg,

    What a glorious piece! I am smitten by this part: “Sending you the last letter I signed for the wife. They have a date set for her. Electro-Convulsive Therapy. It’s the tattoo of the future. Welcome to the wifedom of vacancy.” Wifedom of vacancy is perhaps one of my fave lines from you! Excellent character and life snapshot in letter form.

    – Jonathan

  3. Chelsea Stickle

    Damn, this was hard to read. The drugging, the ECT, etc.. Those things happened all the time. The tone is just right. Sal thinks he’s right and that women are disgusting. You’ve made me glad to be alive now instead of back then. Who knew I’d be glad to be living through a pandemic?

    Some lines I like: “Stinks of mothballs and Saviors. Nothing more aggravating than a wilted wife guided by her stained-glass brood.”

  4. Dennis Holmes

    Wow. This is haunting, in all the best ways, Meg. The subject as conspiring letter between brothers. And the violence, and suggestive abuse? What a terrific “cocktail” to swallow. Fantastic idea and execution.

  5. Freesia McKee

    Hi Meg,

    Fabulous! I’m digging the tension you create between the letter shell and the lyric, playing-with-language syntax full of contempt, sexism, and pain. It reads like a prose poem, but the letter form enhances the context and gravity of the situation. I’m curious what would happen if this was expanded into a larger correspondence, perhaps between multiple members of this family. Exciting!

    Freesia

  6. Sara Comito

    Wow, Meg! The machine-gun pacing and strange turns of phrase that sound somehow old-timey and invented. There’s such violence in the cadence alone. But there’s a hint at compassion with the mention of old war wounds. Not that it’s an excuse – just insight, and a comradery beyond blood relation. The humor in the opening and closing salutations wraps the whole thing up tight.

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