Avery Guess

In Therapy, the Patient Is Asked to Define: Alimony

alimony (al - i - moh - nee) n. a bribe given by a parent to the child they pretended was their spouse for continued silence and complicity.

Use it in a sentence:

I received the alimony check from my father today; the extra hundred bucks will pay for another session of therapy.

Write a poem using each letter of the word as the first letter of each line:


All those nights I
lie there,
I was forced to snap
out of my body.
you pay.

The Patient Attempts to Describe Her Experience with Depakote

Imagine your head filled with. No. 
That’s not right. First, imagine a house.  
A townhouse. Upstairs: three bedrooms
and two baths. Downstairs: a living room. 
Galley kitchen. Dining room. Den. Foyer. 
Half bath. Fill these rooms with a small
family. A mother. A father. A daughter. 

See the girl dress for school. The mother
dress for tennis. The father dress for sales
calls. The mother writes checks for bills. 
Makes stained glass. The father builds
a dollhouse for the girl. Types and mails
resume after resume. See the girl practice
piano. Color. Watch TV after homework.

Father watches the girl watch TV. Mother
watches father watch the girl. Mother drags
the girl upstairs by her hair. The girl plucks
mother’s just-manicured nails from her scalp
one-by-one. Father fucks another woman
in mother’s bed. The girl sits in her closet. 
Reads a book. Drinks vodka. Again. Again.

Father and mother fight. Mother and girl  
fight. Girl fights father off. Father fights
to stay in the girl’s bed. Mother and father
and girl fight. Mother rages. Mother leaves. 
Comes back. Girl is not there is there does
does not cannot leave. Father leaves. Girl
realizes leaving isn’t possible. Is not leaving. 

Picture everything that happened there
in that house portrayed on endless loop
at full volume on the projection screen
of your mind. The daughter.  Her father. 
Her mother. A constant stream. A TV playing
every channel at same time at full volume. 
Or ten TVs. A hundred. Now, pull the plug.