by Anna Lea Jancewicz


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The mothers in this collection are awkward women with desperate urges, struggling with their failing domestications and profound disconnections. They have foul mouths, open legs, violent impulses, and they navigate a warped version of our mundane world in which anything can happen. They are irreal housewives who have shocking answers to the perennial question, “But what do you do all day?”


“The week after the stillbirth, while Lydia was writhing in bed with plugged ducts, Penny had brought her the gift of a canary in a cage. To cheer her. Lydia said thank you then hung the cage in the laundry room. She placed a blanket over the bird and went back to bed with her hot washcloths and sage tea. She was pumping just enough to relieve some pain, pouring out the milk into the bathroom sink.

Lydia did not feed that bird once. Each day, she measured out a scoop of seed into the downstairs toilet and flushed. Sometimes, it took two or three flushes to clear the bowl. By the end of the week, her engorgement had subsided and she took the cage down from its hook and deposited it into the outside trash can, blanket and all. Lydia felt no need to see the unpleasantness underneath.

There was a bit of sesame beef lodged between Lydia’s first and second maxillary bicuspids. The beef gave her a dull, pleasurable ache. Lydia was in no hurry to floss. It was the same small delight she felt after a good rigorous dental cleaning, the same tenderness. Funny how tender can mean two things.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780998403762
Publisher: Widow and Orphan House
Publication date: 02/28/2018
Pages: 188
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

ANNA LEA JANCEWICZ lives in Norfolk, Virginia, where she homeschools her two children, and teaches creative writing and People's History for a homeschool co-op. She is Editor in Chief of RABBLE LIT, a magazine for working class literature, which promotes anti-racist proletarian solidarity. Her writing has been chosen for The Best Small Fictions, Literary Hub Daily, and the Wigleaf Top 50 longlist, and has appeared at HOBART, NECESSARY FICTION, PITHEAD CHAPEL, and many other venues.

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