The Student Literary Journal of Northern Vermont University

Parental Concern



When I stare at my two sons
building cities out of Legos
or constructing couch forts
or pretending to be kitty cats,
I can’t help but think of all
of the mothers of serial killers
saying that they did the very
same thing—reared intelligent
and kind and compassionate
children—just to find out that
they raised mass shooters and
stranglers and necrophiliacs.
Ted Bundy’s mom said that
he was the best son in the
and he kidnapped,
raped, and murdered young
women, later revisiting and
playing with their corpses.
Sometimes, he would take
their heads home, keep them
in the fridge, apply eye shadow
to decaying eyelids, garish
lipstick to lackluster skin.
Klebold’s mom called Dylan
her sunshine boy. He opened
fire and massacred a bunch
of other parents’ children.
I imagine this is different than
being one of those parents that
sees years of evidence—kids
lighting ants on fire, killing
the neighbor’s cat, torturing
and injuring younger siblings.
I am looking for signs, clues
of any evil sensibility in my babies.
I am looking in their corneas
for any telltale wasp-flickering.
I am keeping an eye out for
dead kittens in the gladiolas.