Playing Orphan

Tess Wilson


Every day after school, we killed our parents.
We did it gently, of course—drowned them
fast in the Mississippi, crushed their cars
under thick trees. Left the stove on.

Our dolls and shoes wrapped in red bandanas,
we set camp in the back yard and told stories. Cowboys
who roamed the land alone, lost astronauts in space.
Our favorites, the ones who left home behind.

Finally electric with freedom, we almost forgot to grieve.
Our tears manufactured, they left real wet
trails on our faces, our cheeks
hot with adventure, abandon.


Tess Wilson earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University, where she served on the staff of The Fourth River. Most recently, she was Assistant Editor for Hyacinth Girl Press and an editor for the Pittsburgh Poetry Houses project. Her poetry has appeared in NEAT MagazineThe Crawl Space Journal, IDK Magazine, New Poetry from the Midwest, and the Squad of Sisters Zine. She collects big dictionaries and small rocks