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       Mothers and Mothers and Mothers


I am tired of being 

Born of hurt women 

Again and again.

I have found I can hold myself

In my own arms, more freckled and less soft by the year 

And can still contain the length of my stomach and legs 

Within them.

Long enough now to cover my own

But too short still to wind around the 

Basketed weave of theirs-

Impenetrable and more freckled yet,

Arms and arms 

Of kind women who’ve fashioned themselves 


My mothers.

I am spasming in honey’s, it is eating at my teeth

And sticking the skin of my lips;

I am gasping acknowledgments against it’s sugared veil-

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

But I am longer now in

Years and limbs and hurts


Of my own they tried to tightly weave against-

Be it by inheritance or happenstance,

I have made homes in my hands

And held my stomach closed, alone.

There is no need to toughen me,

I’ve been sanded by the same 

Rough whiskers of men they’d 

Warn against. 

Maybe this is innate-

Veined through the arms of

Hurt and hurt and hurt women;

Taken root in me. 

Maybe this is the cost of motherhood.

Still, I am older now,

And tired. 


Knife Mother


my mother could open doorknob locks with her fingernails,

a swiss army knife of a woman in red polish-

I inherited her hands

like little cold spiders,

but not her fingertips

and I’ve been scratching the paint off of locked doors

for years. 

the man at the gas station says I have her mouth-

we share drugstore lipstick like secrets,

wipe it off with the backs of our left hands;

I feel the coins fill my mouth

every time she bites her lip at the dinner table;

our jaws grow heavy


she gives me her old leather belt,

she’d poked extra holes with a push pin-

there are still stains where she pricked her fingertips,

but only if you really squint-

it gapes on my waist like an open mouth,

and I breath easier

than she was able to. 

 how    to    join

     (when you’re:  young  ,  alone   ,    in  your first apartment)


joining goes something  like    this        :


It is warm and sticky and you’ve been walking uphill and   the back    of   your    neck    feels    like   it’s   dripp  ing    fleshy   colored    paint     and so you lean against a tree for a moment to    breathe   . You lean against a tree     and      the outer bark you’re against becomes        intangible       ; you fall into the tree, standing vertically. The rough shell around you is now solid and your body is ringed into    h   al  ves    and th   ir   ds    and   thirt ee    nths  .  Then, sometime      later     (you do not  know how  long, you cannot  see through bark, no one can,) another person, with lungs (probably)   heaving     ,    leans against  the tree and their   ha   lves    and   t  hir   ds   and thir  teent  hs are ringed into     yours     . And you’re taller than you had been     before     , ensconced in the thick trunk,   but less of your own parts,      too    . And then    another    person, perhaps tired from a jog leans into the     tree    , and     another     andanotherandmore   untilallofyourhalvesandthirdsandthirteenths are pinched into the very     tallest       and         smallest       of  branches. You’d think it would be very hot and uncomfortable  sliding and melding into one another, but you are all very much so pressed together and     thus    are     required    to    move     very        slowly      . This  makes you all quite cold.    So     cold      , the boughs of the tree 


                                    and shake down their leaves  onto   the    sidewalk  ,

and the people that didn’t lean against the tree because they didn’t need to catch their breath    (some people are just       better     breathers    )    feel very much so          bothered     .     So the city sends men to                    slice                          through the       overhanging         branches, and you   can’ttellyoucan’ttellyoucan’tell   if it’s    your     hurt or         another          third’s hurt, but you feel the blistering       sidewalk       against      some    

                                               part of you              all  the same                                    .

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