Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Errour’s Tale

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A litle glooming light, much like a shade,
By which he saw the vgly monster plaine,
Halfe like a serpent horribly displaide,
But th�other halfe did womans shape retaine.

          --The Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto I

Knight, you were the intruder,
charging forth with symbols bellowing.

The forest paused at the sight of you --
all fiery red cross and sword.

My dear children swarmed back into me.
My dark gaping mouth, to be precise.

You were repulsed. You acted.
We both lost our heads.

You should learn about monsters.
We are parents, too, with ancient methods.

You do not seem so concerned
by celebrated virgins who pass

their children to goddesses. Perhaps
the lovely do not need a reason.

I perplexed the pedestal.
I spilled on your hands.

This mouth might appear quite dreadful
to you. But I was not a bad mother.


Cynthia Kuhn is the mother of two amazing boys and is an assistant professor of English at Metro State in Colorado. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly, Copper Nickel, The Muddy River Poetry Review, Meowpower, The Sleep of Grass, and other publications. She is the author of Self-Fashioning in Margaret Atwood’s Fiction: Dress, Culture and Identity.


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