All in by Deborah Hauser

by Deborah Hauser

Dear Sir/Dear Parental Unit/No/Dear Sperm Donor/No/Dear

Male Relative/Stop/Dear old Dad/how many Our Fathers must

I say to make you appear/like Beetlejuice/why summon evil

spirits/how to apportion blame/to an empty

chair/MIA/absentee parent/you were tricked/ trapped/

torn/she turned you/in/to the Draft Board/she was daft/

I became deft/at avoiding her blows/I never learned/how/

to apply a tourniquet properly/the Girl Scouts don’t award

patches/for the survival skills I needed/she needled/ me/

endlessly/I wrote postcards in my head/having a splendid

time/not/wish you were here/to stop the beatings/brace

yourself/for stormy weather/there’s a cold front moving in/

to the guest room/you were my imaginary friend/perhaps

you wrote me too/invisible ink letters/never delivered/coded

messages/intercepted/by enemy hands/Hansel & Gretel/

my grim role models/my plastic red raincoat/she sent me

out/for milk and bread/I took the long way/home/longed

to be/lost/if I came back too late she locked me out/

always on the lookout/for something/to cling/to/a sharp-

toothed wolf/clever enough/to swallow me/whole.


Deborah Hauser is the author of Ennui: From the Diagnostic and Statistical Field Guide of Feminine Disorders. Her work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics, and Carve Magazine. Her book reviews have been published at The Kenyon Review, Mom Egg Review, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She has taught at Stony Brook University and Suffolk County Community College. She leads a double life on Long Island where she works in the insurance industry.