Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Until the Cows Come Home"

This poem came from the May 3, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by aldersprig and sponsored by janetmiles.  The prompt about "the urban myth of the normal family" reminded me of all the folk tales in which some exotic being is able to pass for human, and seems perfect -- except for one flaw.  You can read more about the huldrefolk  online. The other poems in the "Monster House" series are listed on the "Serial Poetry" page of my website.

Until the Cows Come Home

The Solem family moved in
on a perfect sunny day,
taking the house across the street
with its green velvet lawn and white picket fence.

They were tall and blond and blue-eyed
with fair skin that never seemed to burn in the sun.
The wife and the daughter were beautiful;
The husband and the son were handsome.
They smiled with perfect white teeth
when we sent them a welcome basket.

They shopped in the local grocery stores.
Their children went to the same school as ours.
The parents went to PTA meetings
and attended all their children's games.
The blue lace curtains always hung straight in the windows
and the grass got mowed at the same time every Saturday.
They made friends with everyone on the block
and they fit in perfectly.

One day my wife huffed at me,
"The Solems are so normal,
they make my teeth itch.
Twice  yesterday someone said to me
that I should be more like Mrs. Solem!"

"Don't worry," said our daughter,
"they're not real."

My wife and I shared a look.
"What do you mean by that, sweetie?"
I asked carefully.

"They're huldrefolk,"
our daughter said. 
"I can see their cow tails.
Also they have 2.5 children.
They just don't take the baby out in public
because she's still hollow behind."

The next time we met them
strolling the sidewalks in our neighborhood,
I looked at them more closely.
Sure enough, peeking out from the mother's hem
was the tip of a tawny tail.

"Excuse me, Mrs. Solem," my wife murmured,
"but your petticoat is showing below your skirt."
"Thank you," said Mrs. Solem,
twitching her tail out of sight.  "I hear there's a sale
at Kiddie Kloset this weekend."
"That sounds wonderful.  We'll all go," said my wife.
"Perhaps you'll bring your baby this time?"
The two elder Solems shared a look.
"Well, she's a little young still ..." said Mrs. Solem.

"Just keep her in a baby sling,"
said our daughter.  "No one will notice. 
Nobody else around here ever notices anything. 
You'd think they were all blind."
Then she ran after the two Solem kids
as they chased each other around the shade trees.

"Your daughter is very perceptive,"
said Mr. Solem.
"She takes after her grandmother,"
my wife said with a grin.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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