Dowager’s Hump

Dowager’s Hump

Sometime in my forty-fifth year on this very planet earth, one night, over dinner, my husband would examine my Dowager’s Hump with squeezed eyes. He would clear his throat and suggest that I needed to see a therapist.

“How long has that been there, Honey? Aren’t you about thirty years too young for that kind of thing?”

My daughter would ask him to pass her both the salt and pepper shakers.
“This meat is very dry,” she’d say.

My husband would inquire about the spicing I used to baste the chicken we were eating. Was it fresh thyme, or dried? Organic? He’d suggest it tasted a bit too spicy, or not spicy enough. He’d suspect it was overdone.

“Well, that is my little secret.”

I’d pat my hump and he’d twist his torso. It reminded me of the way he turn his entire face away when we had sex. How, from the bed, he’d toss a Kleenex into the trash and say “basket!”

“Maybe you would not have married me if I’d told you about the family problem?” I said, once, very softly. My husband would continue to twist his upper body away from me right there, in his chair. My hump, like the moon, would rise a bit higher. Sometimes, doing piles of dishes, my mother’s hump, my grandmother’s hump would feel so close. I’d find myself in the lobby of some very new doctor’s office trying to explain.

One day a doctor would come out of his closed-door office and shake my hand. My daughter would be next to me, then. She’d be offering her worn out doll to the doctor, squeezing the slumped over doll with her tiny hand. She’d whisper that her doll had a mom-hump but nobody could see it yet.


Meg Pokrass is the author of “Damn Sure Right” (Press 53, 2011), “My Very End of the Universe, Five Mini-Novellas-in-Flash and a Study of the Form” (Rose Metal Press, 2014) “Bird Envy” (Harvard Bookstore bestseller), and "The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down" (Etruscan Press (Spring, 2016). Her first collection of prose poetry, “Cellulose Pajamas” (Blue Light Book Award, 2016) won the Blue Light Book Award. Her stories have appeared in more than 200 literary magazines and anthologies, including Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton). Meg serves as founding editor for New Flash Fiction Review, and curates fiction for Great Jones Street. She recently moved to Northern England.

One comment

  1. Wandai Mungoshi says:

    love this piece and this part “my mother’s hump, my grandmother’s hump felt close.” one can feel how the hump connects the writer with the world, family. great work!

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