Friday, April 3, 2009

Lies We Tell Our Kids, Part II

I'm not really that big on poetry. In general I tend to be pretty prosaic; things like dried flowers, drapey garments with floral patterns, potpourri, incense, patchouli oil, and goddess talk make me feel restless and antsy. But this poem that was featured on the Writer's Almanac on NPR today got me. I did my best to resist it, but it got me. So here, for your reading pleasure is the first ever poem to be featured on The Feminist Agenda. Most likely it will also be the last, but only the Goddess knows.

Lies My Mother Told Me
by Elizabeth Thomas

If you keep eating raw spaghetti
you'll get pinworms,
then I'll have to make
a necklace of garlic for you to wear
each night while you sleep,
until they go away.

If you're mean to your younger brother, I'll know
because I have a special eye
that spies on you when I'm not home.
You cannot hide from it,
so don't try.

If you touch your "down there"
any time other than when using the toilet,
your hand will turn green and fall off.

If you keep crossing your eyes
they will stay that way
until the wind
changes direction.

It is bad luck to kill a moth. Moths are
the souls of our ancestors and it just
might be Papa paying a visit.

If you kiss a boy on the mouth
your lips will stick together
and he'll use the opportunity
to suck out your brains.

If you ever lie to me
God will know
and rat you out.
And sometimes
God exaggerates.
Trust me —
you don't want that
to happen.


  1. Lizzay4/03/2009

    I love how the stanzas on touching yourself and kissing a boy are so casually interchanged with stanzas about killing moths and crossing your eyes. Fabulous!

  2. hahahaha! i saw you on womanist musings and followed you here.

    i know this is an old post, but this reminded me so much of a story in my family. when my dad's little cousin (Camelia) was a child, maybe six years old, her mother went out to the market to grab some stuff (this was in Romania in the 50s, so it wasn't strange to leave your kids like that). anyway Camelia had a habit of bothering the cat, and her mother felt bad for the cat and told her that if she touches it, a mark will appear on the kitty's back so she would be able to tell that she bothered it.

    when Camelia's mom came back from the market, the cat had a bald spot on its back because she had touched the cat, and from fear her mother would find out from the mark that would appear on its back, she shaved its back. :-P

  3. cheesecakelover7/14/2010

    @ Lorelei: that's hilarious!