Musk Puppets

by Regis Boff


My mother was painfully beautiful. It was impossible for me to view her otherwise. She knew full well that I loved her. I was fortunate to be her son, or I would have been in trouble. It was dangerous to love my mother.
The signature constancy of my childhood was my mother bringing men into my orbit, so I could observe her hurting them. She used their faces like mirrors, seeing their desires instead of her image. She dealt harshly with men who dared to believe they could have her. Loving her the way I did and needing to possess her myself, I enjoyed her pastime immensely. I wanted her suitors to suffer, and she obliged me by dropping these men’s hearts into me, like worms into a hungry baby bird’s jealous beak.

Her vengeance should have stopped abruptly when she died, but even at her funeral, the men lined up to get the closer look of her, at her wonderful lifeless body.
I sat alone in a pew, unsure of what to do about my jealousy and my rising rage, watching them leer at her in the coffin with undisguised pleasure. The room was dark and thick in velvet cadaver scents; the organ disciplined the crowd and the tone of solemnity. Unknown people condensed themselves behind me. Mother had family. Father’s were too embarrassed to come.