A Literary Child’s Guide to Her Dead Mother -The Toast

Skip to the article, or search this site

Home: The Toast


If your Dead Mother was not already Dead, no doubt your theatrics would kill her.

That was your Dead Mother’s favorite horse. It trampled her to death when it became jealous of her attentions to other creatures. Anyway, it’s yours now.

You do not resemble your Dead Mother in the slightest, except for your eyes. Your damned, cursed, pale eyes.

Your Dead Mother’s feet were so small, she wept bitterly every time she danced. It was exquisite.

Once you could still catch the scent of your Dead Mother’s perfume amongst these old gowns. But no more. No more.

Your Dead Mother had no sense of humor, but was passionately fond of laughter in the abstract.

I could have sworn I you told about your Dead Mother’s twin sister. I’m certain I did; you just weren’t paying attention.

Your Dead Mother had a special stick she used to beat away impertinent suitors. One day it broke over a gentleman’s head and she could never find another one she liked as much. That it how your mother and father came to be betrothed.

We have bricked off the garden and every other thing your Dead Mother loved. We attempted to brick off her favorite maid as well, but she made a dreadful scene about it.

That is not your Dead Mother’s ghost we have lately seen roaming the moors. I don’t know whose ghost it is. Some other lady’s, I suppose.

Your Dead Mother’s favorite color was lilac; anything stronger gave her a headache.

Do not ask for help finding your Dead Mother’s Secret Dressing Room. It is a thing every girl must do for herself.

Of course, it’s no one’s fault, really, that your Dead Mother died in childbirth. (Except for yours. It is your fault.)

Your Dead Mother was so frail she was often mistaken for a paper doll. Once a servant threw in her the fire and killed her.

There is but one photograph of your Dead Mother and it is hidden. I don’t know where it is hidden; probably in her Secret Dressing Room. She is frowning in it anyway.

Your Dead Mother used her last breath to name you, unfortunately no one thought to write it down and it was immediately forgotten.

Your Dead Mother is quite possibly still in the attic.

Perhaps if your Dead Mother had been a bit friendlier to people, you wouldn’t have all these troubles now, hmm?

Your Dead Mother’s ship was never found, you know; but we needn’t talk any more about that.

Elaine Atwell is a regular contributor to AfterEllen.com, an avid twitterer, and the author of The Music Box, a trash novella about lesbian spies in World War II. She lives in New Orleans, against the wishes of her family.

Add a comment

Skip to the top of the page, search this site, or read the article again