The Spanking Lady
_____Bad boys carted off to the Spanking Lady never return:
_____a Shanty Creek Road Urban Legend.
Her brain cavity is an empty
five-gallon bucket. But she can body
slam a black bear. She looks a bit
like Alice the Goon from Popeye cartoons:
broad shoulders, thick feet, flat black eyes,
bald head, plump nose that swings
from her face like a swollen link
of boiled bratwurst. But she has wiry
hairs like rusty barbs of tetanus
that protrude from the moles
on her chin. Her false teeth were extracted
from a maggot-infested woodchuck
she found dead in a ditch. She wears
ragged bib overalls worn through
at the knees from creeping
up on coydogs—her meat of choice
for soups and stews. She smokes
poison ivy leaves in a corncob pipe.
She lives someplace beyond
the old posted landfill
in a shack built out of discarded
pallets and wind-shredded
tarps near a toxic creek occupied
by two-headed muskrats—
twisted critters she whacks, whacks
with her spanking stick for practice.
A rabid bobcat is her best friend.
Delinquent boys a delicacy.
Steven M. Smith is the author of the poetry collection Strongman Contest (Kelsay Books, 2021). His poems have appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, The Worcester Review, and Rattle. He is the Writing Center director at the State University of New York at Oswego. He lives in North Syracuse, New York.