WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Oh, man. The poems this week were the best/worst! I laughed so hard, then realized I had to pick a winner. Those who submitted a poem did so ‘well,’ I feel like I’m picking a favorite child.

Which, of course, every parent has. So, this week’s winner is:

Baa-baa inclusive sheep

by MagicQuill17

Baa, baa, black sheep,
(Or brown sheep,
or white sheep,
or Asian sheep,
because it’s important to be inclusive)
Have you any wool?
{Or cotton, for that matter
for the people living in tropical climates,
Plus just wool won’t do any good to those living in the Arctic
Or the Antarctic
Also, we need semi-cold fabrics
For temperate climates)

Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!
(Or ma’am,
Or revered person who’s neither
Ma’am or sir)
One for the master,
(Or mistress,
Or genderqueer person,
Or bigender person,
Or agender person)
And one for the dame,
(Or sir,
Or Mx.
Or Ind.)

One for the little boy
(Or girl,
Or-better yet- child)

Who lives down the lane.
(Nothing politically incorrect here,
But do save a wool blanket for me, sheep
Because I have insomnia
From being too woke.)

—–

Congratulations, Anisha! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

This poem won for ruining itself with political correctness. A bold move; one that worked to bring it to first place against so many clever contenders. I especially liked how inclusively annoying Anisha was over and over.

And here are the rest of my favorites:

Ma said I wasn’t a good righter… Boy did I proof her wrong!

by Heather Bergen

Little Boo Creep,
Likes to kick Sheep,
But missed and kicked right beside them,
She kicked a stone,
And broke her own bone,
Now she sits on a tuffet.
Like a sad baby muppet,
Eating her actions all day.
Along came a farmer,
Who wanted to harm her.
But instead gave her sheep some more…Hay Diddle diddle
Boo Creep starts to fiddle,
The sheep have plenty of room.
The farmer was glad to see such a sight.
And randomly jumped to the
moonlight, so bright
One moon I see tonight
I wish I may,
I wish I might,
This awful rhyme,
Forget tonight.

🤦🏼‍♀️

—–

Harper, Turn The Espresso Machine On

by Joem18b

Harper, turn the espresso machine on,
Harper, turn the espresso machine on,
Harper, turn the espresso machine on,
We’ll all have a double latte.

Mackenzie, turn the espresso machine off again,
Mackenzie, turn the espresso machine off again,
Mackenzie, turn the espresso machine off again,
They’ve all gone away.

Plug in the toaster oven and make malted toast,
Put the croissants on to warm but don’t roast,
Plug in the toaster oven and make malted toast,
We’ll all have a double latte.

—–

Untitled piece

by Deb Whittam

Mary had a little lamb
Which went and got itself lost
Mary thought with a grunt
Damn thing just goes and sods off

Mary thought about the job
Of finding the little sheep
Decided it wasn’t worth the bother
She had others she could fleece

Mary went off to the casino
Wearing a bright red dress
Mary had a knack for cards
That had long been repressed

Mary made a killing
Which the casino didn’t appreciate
They went and found her lamb
Hoping they could set her straight

Mary took one look a little lamb-beau
Snorted with derision
She didn’t want the lamb back
Just kill it with precision

Mary’s words mortified all
They all grew alarmed
Mary didn’t really care
She had come forearmed

She took the loot, she took their money
And then Mary scrammed
She heard about some great cave
Owned by a guy called Aladdin

—–

Little Bo Peep, Unemployed

by Kristian

Little Bo Peep

Had lost her sheep,

But she knew just where to find them

They’d been taken away

The other day

For slaughter, so she no longer had to mind them.

—–

Untitled Nursery Rhyme

by Michael B. Fishman

Hickory dickory dock,
I got a hole in my sock.
I let it go and stubbed my toe
and fell on my old banjo.

Then Mary’s lamb came prancing by and took a look at me.
“Help!” I said but the lamb just turned and nibbled on my
forgotten peanut butter and onion panini.

I couldn’t believe it, the lamb wouldn’t help, that lousy, fleecy
snob.
So I crawled over slowly and with my hands turned that lamb into a
kebab.

Then Mary came a-running in, “Oh I loved that lamb a lot.”
She cried and cried and with the back of her hand wiped away a gob of snot.

That made me sick, that gooey drool, wet boogers on the back of her wrist
and I wondered for a minute if she ever gave her boyfriend a sloppy wet bugger-y kiss.

She probably did. That poor old fella, I hope he carries a hanky,
and not just any hanky but one as big as my light blue naptime blanky.

That’s my story and now I’m tired and I’ve still got a hole in my sock
and guess what?
I just saw a cloud
drift past wearing
a raincoat and I said
to the cloud,

“Hey what are you wearing under your raincoat and the cloud said,
“Thunderwear”.

And I said,
“You’re lighter than air”.

And the cloud said, “You’re a poet.”

And I said, “But a terrible one.”

And the cloud said, “Well I didn’t want to say anything, but–”

And we both smiled.

And the cloud floated away
with a promise to
come on back another day

and Mary started washing her face, washing her face, washing
her face on this cold and frosty morning. And then she started
to dance around a Mulberry bush and I called her Mulberry Mary.

—–

Grumpy Humpty

by Bruce Goodman

Humpty Dumpty sat on the fence
And the top wire was barbed and went right through his pants.
All the king’s nurses with skills so superior
Refused to bandage up Humpty’s posterior.

—–

Untitled piece

by Ruth Scribbles

There Was a Young Lady Who Lived in a Sandal

She had so many toes it really was a scandal

She wrapped them all up with tape and some gauze

After cutting them off without any cause.

—–

Itsy Bitsy

by Matt Snyder

Itsy bitsy, no, it’s a great big freakin’ spider

It’s just there stuck with all its legs against our wall

I let out a greatly enormous incredibly loud scream

Hoping and praying it don’t fall

And then it began to rain

The pitter patter of the drops

Against the window pane

Sorry, I was distracted

Itsy bitsy great big freakin’ spider

Never to be seen again

—–

Nip and tuck

by Violet Lentz

There was once a princess from Poughkeepsie,
Who went in for a li’l nip and tuck, see?
Instead of lifting her breast
they lowered the rest
Now her boobies are where her knees, should be.

—–

Untitled piece

by Gary

Row, row, row your brexit
Gently wants to make me scream
Terribly, terribly, terribly, terribly
Life is but a dirty scheme
Bankers, fill, fill fill your boots
Gently wrecking our kids dreams
Horribly, horribly, horribly, horribly
Life is ruled by corrupt regimes
Row, row, row your lies
Gently down the pan
Stupidly, stupidly, stupidly, stupidly
Life is run by an ignorant racist madman
Hedge funds , screw, screw screw your world
Gently throw the climate down the garbage can
Corruptly, corruptly, corruptly, corruptly
Life is a dream if you are the bogeyman

—–

Sing a Song of Christmas ( or Four and Twenty Relatives)

by LWBUT

Sing a song of Christmas,
A stocking full of gifts.
Parents folding wrapping paper,
Taking it in shifts.

Children demanding i-Phones,
Lego kits and Apps;
Money is no object,
At least while the credit lasts.

The relatives are coming
Quick! Lock the door!
There’s only eight of them
But they eat like there’s twenty four!

Too much ham, turkey and stuffing
Pudding up to here.
Wine and beer flowed in a torrent,
Overdone it again this year.

Take the lights and decorations down,
Stuff ’em in a box;
Then find a nice, dark, quiet place,
with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a strip of ten Stilnox.

—–

Thank you all so much! You’ve done Mother Goose a horrible service today!

Come back tomorrow morning for next week’s prompt.

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MagicQuill17: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest #47!

Are you confused about how to terribly poem? I’ve got you covered with a basic overview, here. Mostly, I seek the complete destruction of a poem’s construction over the revulsion of the subject.

Here are the specifics:

  1. At the excellent suggestion of Deb Whittam, our Topic is fractured nursery rhymes. Since I’ve done this category before, the rule is that you must take an existing nursery rhyme as your base.
    Mess up Mary’s lamb. Make Jack and Jill lose their heads; literally. Turn Little Jack Horner’s plum into a shark.
  2. The Length is determined by the rhyme you choose. No, you needn’t do every stanza of “Old Mother Hubbard.” It’s up to you.
  3. In terms of Rhyming, that is also dependent on the one you choose. All the ones I’ve read rhyme, so you can count on doing the same.
  4. Please, young writers, Make it terrible! Mother Goose will spontaneously molt at the very mention of your name and children everywhere will be permanently scarred for six months.
  5. The target audience is children, so a G-Rating is necessary.

You have till 9:00 a.m. MST next Friday (October 18) to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week.

If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Please also comment if you post to your site, since WordPress’ pingbacks are not reliable.

Have fun!

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Photo credit: Charles 🇵🇭

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Mother Goose ain’t got nothing on this week’s terrible poetry contest, yet another event where I found myself torn between at least five entries.

What’s the fun of a contest without a designated winner, though? And that winner is ….Violet Lentz.

Mary McGrath

by Violet Lentz

I once knew a girl
Named Mary McGrath
Who’d do anything
To avoid taking a bath

She’d run and she’d hide
She’d slip and she’d slither
Till her father was fit
And her mom in a dither

A brown crust it settled
Between the cracks in her toes
Wax dried in her ears
And snots in her nose.

Her hair a birds nest
Even fleas would avoid
Her breath so atrocious
Even dogs were annoyed

This went on for years
Her games and her ploys
Till one day she grew up
and discovered boys!

Well that changed it all
Today she couldn’t be neater
All plaited and pressed
And she smell so much sweeter!

Congratulations, Violet! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

As I first read through everyone’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad entries; I thought to give a tie to two who trashed everything our inner child held dear. Ultimately, however, I decided to turn to The Rules.

When I introduced the contest last week, I specifically said, “This week… I wish to be more about a clever take and subject than about a rotten execution.” I therefore changed my judging glasses out for a pair that looked for rhymes that could be of the nursery sort, though hopefully no parent would ever recite them to his child.

Violet’s fit the bill, which is no surprise considering how very talented a poet she is.

Not to be outdone, of course, are all the rest. I laughed, I cried, I groaned; and I felt terrible for not being able to award so talented a crowd first place all around.

Don’t believe me? Read for yourself and see:

Hush Now

by Donna Matthews

Hush now my cantankerous one
Have you lost all your fun?
You’re as enjoyable as the flu
Your attitude smelling like poo
Relax and chill out
Or get the hell out.

Hush now moody and blue
Or else, begone and say adieu
Go on and get lost
before you get tossed
Better improve your mood
Or you’re gonna be screwed

Hush now my beautiful one
I’m tired and more than done
Now really…I mean you no harm
Come here into my arms
Ain’t nobody got time for this
Now be sweet and give me a kiss

—–

Untitled piece

by Greygirlieandme

Jack and Jill
Looked at the hill.
Where there was a well.
For Mary’s little lamb needs water.
Jack said well
It’s the task from hell
And Jill said ‘Yes it is, sort of.

Mary’s lamb is always thirsty,
She’s fed up of its antics.
It follows her everywhere she goes,
She’s got an ovine stalker.

Jack huffed and puffed
When Mary cried and Jill
Had a temper tantrum.
He got an idea
Of what life is like
With two premenstrual women.

He cursed the lamb,
Damn you lamb.
Damn you sheep.
You haunt me in my sleep.

Mary and Jill
Skipped up the hill.
They said ‘Typical man
To not water the lamb,
Or see the site’s potential.
As long as you could get planning consent.
Which is really hard.
We’ll have to see the council.

Mary and Jill
Now live on the hill.
Their restaurant’s famous
For lamb navarin.

Jack ran away
To discover himself.
‘Golly, I’m gay,
Hip, hip hooray,
I can wear that turqoise eyeliner.
And they all lived happily, after
Seeing a family counsellor.

—–

Untitled piece

by jena c. henry

Jack Spratt and his wife
Could eat no Keto
Whole 30 or Paleo
No more ‘licking the plate clean’ life.

“My fair lady! Let’s practice self-care.”
“Ok” said Jack’s wife, “I’m for cardio.”
So they marched up the hill- go!
And then ringed around the rosie there.

They met Humpty Dumpty, and tried
yolk-a on the wall, oh no!
Along came a downward doggo
And sat down beside her, fried.

Organic clothes would be fantastic!
Said Jack, “Baa baa Black Sheep do
You have any wool?”
“No sir. No sir. Just recycled fibers of plastic.”

Jack’s wife decided to meditate
And live alone in a shoe.
Jack didn’t know what to do.
So he said, “That’s the way the bough breaks.”

—–

Untitled piece

by Bruce Goodman

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
That looks very uncomfortable, said Little Bo Peep.
Believe me, said Humpty Dumpty,
It’s not half as bad as sitting on Little Miss Muffet’s tuffet.

You, said Mother Goose, should keep
Wee Willie Winkie under control.
So also says Bruce.

—–

There was an old man

by RhScribbles

There was an old man
Who lived in a boot
He had so many relatives
That he didn’t give a wit
As to whether he lived
Or died as a smelly old coot

He picked his nose and
Chewed his cud
He went to bed in the mud
He awoke with a cough
And said, “that’s enough”
He bought a newspaper
And went on a caper
He had to sell his boot
Cause he had no loot

All that was left was
To scream and hoot
Hooting and tooting
As a jolly old soul
He became the
Walmart Santa Claus

—–

The old woman who lived in a shoe

by Julia

(with apologies to Sylvia Plath, from whom I stole the first verse, which fit so perfectly — no pun intended!)

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

And that was before all these toes came along,
These children, like toes, like the notes of a song
Multiplying like rabbits, my food to divide
Until broth without bread was all I’d provide.
Then I sent them to bed, though I knew I was wrong.

Yes, I whipped them, quite soundly, it’s true.
But what would you do, were it you in this shoe?
In this shoe thirty years, give or take one or two?
Say what you will, I know just what you’d do
You’d do the same thing, were it you in this shoe.

—–

There was an old woman who lived in a boot

by Molly Stevens

There was an old woman
Who lived in a boot.
She had a lot of children
But they didn’t give a hoot.

In their defense
She was quite contrary,
With a curl smack dab in the middle
Of her forehead.

She sat alone
Day after day
Eating her curds
And slurping her whey.

When out on the lawn
There arose such a clatter,
She sprang from her tuffet
To see what was the matter.

In her haste to explore
She swallowed a fly.
Why, oh why?
Did she swallow that fly?

She feared she’d die!

She called Little Jack Horner
The local MD.
He said, “I’m plumb out of ideas,
You’d best go to the ED.”

She’d no way to get there
One shoe off and the other shoe on,
Diddle diddle dumpling
She called her son, John.

John told her to wait for him
Sitting on a wall,
But possessing poor balance
The old woman had a great fall.

A walrus and a carpenter
Walked by and saw her plight,
“I don’t know what happened
But she doesn’t seem quite right.”

While thinking things could not be worse
For the woman who was comatose,
Down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.

“The time has come,” the walrus said,
“To talk of many things,
But first to stay above suspicion
I suggest we trot along home again.”

I wish there were a happy ending
But alas the woman died.
Let this be a lesson,
Don’t swallow a fly!

—–

Itsy Bitsy Spider – Mediocre Rap Version

by H.R.R. Gorman

Sleep is for the weak
SON
So listen to these ill tweaks
To the story of the real OG.

Itsy bitsy spider
In the house.

Climb up that waterspout.
Going up clean aluminum,
Ain’t touching that nasty grout.

But here comes the rain!
Aluminum’s too slick now!
Give them a world of PAIN!

Gonna bust a cap
In the weatherman
Lying to me bout this crap.

How am I gonna spin a web
When it’s wet outside?
Let me call up buddy Jeb!

Ring Ring
Ring Ring
Ring Ring

“Hello? Nuclear Fire you say?
That’s the way I like it –
Radiation everyday!”

Dry up that pipe and climb
Reach the top of the drain
And rejoice with sick rhyme.

Word.

—–

Untitled piece

by Fractured Faith Blog

Little Bo Beep
Lost her sheep
They were all butchered in the abbatoir
And sold for meat.
By a clown….
With a chainsaw.
Fin

—–

Untitled piece

by D. Wallace Peach

Old Pres Donald had a wall
I owe IOU
And from the top he saw a cactus
I owe IOU
With a billion here and a billion there
Here a debt there a debt
Everywhere some deficit
I owe IOU

Old Pres Donald had a germ
I owe IOU
And no health care we all got sick
I owe IOU
With a cough cough here and a hack hack there
Here a phlegm, there a phlegm
Everywhere some green phlegm
I owe IOU

Old Pres Donald had a tax cut
I owe IOU
And no one got it but the rich
I owe IOU
With a bill bill here and bill bill there
Here a notice, there a notice
Everywhere a payment’s due
I owe IOU

Old Pres Donald had a personality disorder
I owe IOU
Can’t sympathize or tell the truth
I owe IOU
With a lie lie here and a lie lie there
Here a Putin, there a Putin
Everywhere a favorite Russian
I owe IOU

—–

Untitled piece

by Michael B. Fishman

Frankie holds his undies out, mom takes them with a frown.
Her nose is wrinkled, her eyes are closed, a reaction to the brown.

“Why, Frankie, dear these pants do smell oh my, what did you do?”

“I’m sorry mom I just bent down and out came some tiny poo.”

Tiny’s right, Frank’s mommie thinks, they look like baby ants.
Or maybe, she laughs, like something dropped from Captain Underpants.

—–

Untitled piece

by Michael B. Fishman

Frankie stepped down off the curb he didn’t look left or right.
A speeding driver came down the street and drove right through the light.
People shouted out to Frankie; many more folks screamed
But Frankie was listening to a baseball broadcast and wound up getting creamed.

Frankie got run over.
There wasn’t much left over.
Sort of like a cherry turnover
(only with blood and bones and torn and wrinkled skin instead of cherries)

They used a mop to clean up Frankie, the driver went away in chains
And all that was left at the end of the day was a bit of Frankie’s brains.
So when you cross the street my friends be sure to look both ways
unless you want to wind up as a blob of bloody mayonnaise.

—–

Now we’ll have to get an artist on board to help illustrate these.

In the meantime, tune in tomorrow. I am SO SO so excited for next week’s prompt!

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Violet: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Who’s ready for some terrible poetry? I know I am!

Welcome to The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest, the twelfth iteration. I am super stoked for this week’s topic.

**IMPORTANT NOTE** I usually tell everyone to read, “How To Write Terrible Poetry” so’s you know what I’m looking for. This week, however, I wish to be more about a clever take and subject than about a rotten execution.

  1. Topic: Nursery Rhymes.
  2. Length? Let’s do a stanza or two, or three. We don’t need all 16 rounds of “Old Mother Hubbard,” for Peter Pumpkin Eater’s sake.
  3. This prompt is a special one.
    If you, the poet, wish to satirize an existing nursery rhyme; that is reasonable.
    If you, the poet, wish to vaguely reference an existing nursery rhyme; I am okay with your decision.
    If you, the poet, wish to go to No Man’s Land of poetry and leave us wondering if you even knew the prompt; more power to you.
  4. Whatever you decide, make us hurt while we’re laughing.
    Make Georgie Porgie want to cry with mirth. Give Jack and Jill a poetic thrill. Give those blind mice something to smile about.
  5. In terms of appropriateness, keep it PG- or G-rated. These are originally written for children, after all.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (February 8, 2019) to submit a poem.

Post your poem or a link to it in the comments, or fill out the included form. I read them all and judge as impartially as I may.

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In the meantime and just for fun, here are a couple of poems the very busy but very talented Irish Procrastinator wrote last year:

Doggies

A doggie is lovely

It wags and it barks

It just wants a cuddle

And walks in the park

But the worst thing of all

(And everyone looks)

Is when it sits down

And does a big poop.

—–

Just Eat Some Toast Instead

I knew a girl

Who loved to eat boogers

At breakfast and lunch

She dug in her hooter

She wouldn’t eat fruit

And she wouldn’t eat bread

This girl just loved

To eat bogeys instead

One day while digging

Deep up in her nose

Her finger got stuck!

Her mummy said ‘blow!’

She huffed and she puffed

Her mummy said ‘more!’

She blew it so hard

Her nose flew out the door!

Lucky for her

Her mummy had glue

She stuck it back on

And nobody knew

So if you don’t want

To lose bits of your head

Take my advice

Use a tissue instead.

I keep telling her she needs to write modern children’s nursery rhymes, so we’ll hold out hope for when that happens.

 

Photo Credit:
Charles 🇵🇭

The Little Shepherd’s Lullaby

The others are gone and the choir too;
The new star’s in the sky.
Joseph’s watching and Mary is holding you;
Now, it’s just you and I.

So dream, dear baby Jesus;
Sleep this night with me.
We, lowly shepherds, came to you;
A silent prince of peace.

The world closed its eyes as the sky went to sleep;
Our sheep were gent’ly laid.
An angel’s light stopped the darkness’ creep;
She said, “Don’t be afraid.

“He sleeps, the tiny Jesus
A tiny, lonely King.”
Glory to God in the highest
She and her friends did sing.

And so, as we heard, of a newborn child,
We talked, and chose to go
To the manger wherein you slept and smiled
Beneath the heav’nly glow.

Keep sleeping, little Jesus
Friendless and cold no more.
I came to stand beside you,
To comfort and adore.

In slumber, so perfect, I watched you rest,
Though I was called to leave.
You needed a friend; I will do my best
To stay and watch this eve.

So lay there, little Jesus,
Asleep just like my lamb.
Smile, knowing you’ve company:
I’m here for you, I am.

Mary holds your hands, sweet and small, like mine;
The fingers gently curled.
Yours will grow to heal hearts and bless all mankind:
The Savior of the world.

So sleep, my baby Jesus
Savior, meek and mild.
Many men will find you yet;
Tonight, though, just a child.

 

Submitted in the nick of time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Christmas Story Contest.

Easter Hunt

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The scratched wood floor finally looked clear, though that status didn’t extend to its edges. A bit of green poked from a nook. Pink showed from an under-couch cranny. A wrapper crinkled from directly beneath her slipper.

Ann sighed, and stooped to free the purple foil from her sole. It stuck a bit stubbornly, finally releasing itself with a parting gift of caramel. At this moment, she felt a small tug at her left pant leg. She looked down at a three-year-old-grin looking up.

“Can I eat this?” A chocolate-mouthed creature asked. It proffered an unwrapped egg in its brown-tipped fingers.

Ann thought it might be her youngest child, and addressed it accordingly. “Sure, Jane,” she tiredly answered. Jane, as she proved to be, smiled the beatific smile of the sugar saturated young, shoved the chocolate into her mouth, and ran off. Ann cringed, hoping Jane would not feel inclined to touch or kiss anything. Realization hit; pants examined. She sighed, telling herself the brown barely showed against the natural, washed-out black of the yoga pants. If anything, it matched a few other spots.

She kneeled to extract the pink object under the couch. It made a light rattling sound. Sitting widened thighs against middle-aged cankles, she carefully opened the plastic egg. Broken bits of candy shell rained a light powder upon her lap. Two half-clad Hershey’s eggs rolled inside the plastic halves within her grip.

“Those are mine!” Will said, suddenly at her side. Ann hadn’t heard him approach; had, in fact, been calling the boy for the last half hour to come clean up his mess or she was going to throw it away. As always, she was amazed at how quickly the children could move when given their definition of “proper motivation.”

Will stuck out a hand to accept the shells’ inner contents. His mother obliged. He closed his fist; she winced. Leaving her with a parting scowl of entitlement, he ran off after his sister. Into thin air, she couldn’t help thinking. Distractedly, she looked down. She brushed at the dust, which removed the larger bits.

Thinking she ought to take advantage of her current position, Ann ducked to search the remainder of The Land Beneath the Furniture. She carefully ran a hand along the floor, internally recoiling at the questionable feel to unseen objects her fingers brushed against. Bravely, she pulled a few into light. Two broken Hot Wheels cars, hair elastics, Lego bricks, stale bread crust, a doll head, and half a plastic Easter egg tumbled out with an escort of crumbs and dust. She looked at the mess, extracted the half shell, and pushed the rest back out of sight. They’d know where to find Barbie’s head if they thought to ask for it.

Ann kneel-crawled over to the green egg in the corner of the room. She picked it up; opened it over the hardwood. Some loose change was exposed. It looked to total 57 cents. She considered keeping it -payment for a morning’s maid-work. She knew, however, that this was the very 57 cents her eldest had collared Will over just an hour prior.

“Mary!” Ann called, from her sit-squat on the floor.

“Whaa-aaat?” a pre-teen answered. The response seemed to come from Ann’s bathroom, upstairs.

Two reasons now presented themselves for bringing her daughter hither: the money, and removal from whatever of Ann’s makeup Mary was surely testing upon her face. “I found your money!” Ann shouted.

A pause, then, “Okay!” Overheard; a drawer closed, an item dropped and was scraped against the floor as it was retrieved, a drawer opened and closed again, and footsteps exited across hard tiles. Soon, Ann’s keen ears heard Mary’s soft footsteps majestically skipping down the stairs.

A deeper-lipped twelve-year-old than Ann was accustomed to seeing sauntered casually into the room. Mary also seemed to have tried some blue eyeshadow and pink blush. The results were somewhat frightening, but Ann pretended as much ignorance as her daughter. She held the egg and its change out, waiting for Mary’s deliberately slow walk to bring her close enough to accept the offering.

Mary finally reached her mother, took the egg, and studied her face for reaction. Little sleep and years of practice with Will’s antics had trained Ann well. She simply nodded, then intentionally exaggerated her attempts to rise from the floor in order to give Mary time to exit.

Sure enough, Ann got to her feet just as Mary was walking out the arched doorway of the family room. Ann sighed, but proudly noted the progress she’d made with the room. It had taken the better part of two hours, but the dusty floor was finally clear of all the leftovers of the morning’s hunt and after-party.

She walked over to the garbage and threw away the wrapper, half shell, and some more pants dust. “Mo-o-o-o-o-o-om!” Jane sang loudly, entering the room as she did.

“Yes, Jane?” Ann asked.

“I just lo-o-ove Easter egg hunts!” Jane sighed, grabbing both her mother’s legs and swinging a bit. She paused, and looked thoughtful. “Do you, Mommy?”

Ann looked down at her still-filthy angel. She could still feel the bits of under-couch detritus on her fingertips, the sensation of a coin-filled egg upon her palm, and could see her oldest’s smeary-lipped expression of nonchalance. Ann glanced at the pile of discarded plastic egg shells she’d gathered in the hours of cleaning. Finally, she looked back to her innocent child’s face.

“Of course I do,” she answered, smiling in return.