A Crown of Spells to Ward Off Susans

by Denise Duhamel & Maureen Seaton



Stop crying. Bring all her costume jewelry
to the oldest corner of the dark house
where rats are gnawing. Take cheese, five ounces,
preferably moldy, and write her name backwards
on a soft-shell crab. Eat it while farts
waft past that time-honored Szechuan dish,
the creamy casserole that made Susan ill.
Eat it by fistfuls, your stomach hers. Say:

Sour Cheerios and cesspool Smoothies, gray
chopmeat and the gums of old llamas.
May the double l's double over Susan.
May the pink raw meat and mouth rip
her into puzzle pieces that tip
like a Rubic's Cube in the fat hands of God.



When she denies she's flirting, slit open
a pepper and gather the seeds. Then spit
into a waiter's ear, eat rarebit
or Egg Foo Young, release doves. Now circle
her shoe which you've stolen, its purple
laces and lime-green sole. Take the tongue
of your ogling boss and, to the far-flung
noise of Nine-Inch-Nails, wave it high and yell:

Goddess of Toe Nail Clippings and Bad Smells,
pluck Susan from each potential suitor
and stick her with a corsage pin saying: "For-
ever clumsy." May she wander dazed
through malls where she works for minimum wage
in stores where my lover would never stop.



Razor the bristles off her wet toothbrush,
collect her saliva and plaque in a pouch.
Throw a carton of organic eggs, loud
and unfertilized, into her pancakes.
Now pee on a lamb's tongue then into a lake
where your power will do the most harm. Lick
the crispy raisin moles that dot your sick
mother's stomach and you're through. Ready? Say:

Goddess of Wheatgrass, keep Susan away
in the state of Kentucky where lovers
sleep in slop of pigs and fowl. May she hover
over the Jersey turnpike at rush hour
as she spends her years alone. May admirers
find her breath bad and her clitoris lax.



Cull the sickest-looking fruit from the scarred bowl.
Mashing, drip something green from your mean face
into a stew of awkwardness and baste
until Susan is the shade of your eyebrows.
Stir until she is the shape of five cows-
never before has broth tasted so bossy!
Walk into a forest, bicycle or ski
where you can spin near wild mushrooms, singing:

May the angels toil for you, Susan, ring
creepy Alleluias into sex and dream.
May your days be dark and stained as red beets
as you crawl to find your dusty contact lens.
May the skinny ghost of Ichabod Crane
carry you, cashless, into K-Mart.



Gather stereotypes who look like Susan.
Bring them, insipid and limp, to the cliff
where you saw her kiss your sweetheart. Don't mind if
the pain in her loins is stronger than rum.
Sing "Hey la hey la my girlfriend's back." Bum
a funny cigarette from a famous queen
whose danger is unknown. Saute a cat's spleen,
if you can find one, and while you're cooking, say:

May the half-moons of your thumbnails slay
your future offspring, may their sharp white teeth
bit the TV cord during Ricki Lake week.
May safety pins leap through your ears and tongue
and lacerate you, Susan, the thin rungs
of your career plans ladder you into hell.



Turn on the ceiling fan and imagine
her neck cut off by each whirring blade,
her spine collapsing like a blanched and frayed
embryo in the clinic's light. Pour urine
into the mouth of a north-flowing river
while drowning five blue newts in the cream bleach
she used to lighten her moustache. Eat
the dandruff you snatched from her collar. Holler:

May your leather be stolen at Girl Bar.
May your pee be green, may your hair be cut
by untrained stylists who highlight your bald spot.
May everyone who meets you say "Who?" May
you grow as lonely as a rope. May you fly
into traffic begging my forgiveness.



Now go to Penny's and hide in the smallest
dressing room until you see Susan's feet.
Stretch her toes until they resemble eels,
then bruise them with rocks or small furniture.
Take your brother's old odor-eaters,
the hair of a plucked nipple, and repeat.
Slip her photograph into a hive of bees
and as they sting her image, say out loud:

May you live to bowdlerize your proud
operas into fanny songs, your cinched
waistline into suet. May your rhinestoned hand
grow arthritic, and may your whiny voice
whine over the last prairie like a toy
airplane before it screams into flames and melts.