Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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Every language drowns itself. A body
may be sunk—but a watch, a shoe—these float
their foam to shore; that's the parenthetical.

Also somehow I'm a mother, maybe
an awful one. I read to my daughter
in our leaky, rotted argot like

a hull with a hole. The Sea King's
daughter (motherless) rises to the surface
of the sea, is stunned by the sky at dusk,

a human town lit by electricity,
by birds, even, in their trees. Poor Mermaid,
her every step on land is a knife stab.

Whoso loveth suffering made for his
daughter to loveth the Word. So it is
my daughter and I afternoons go down

the ravine, see a fox (in its mouth, a squirrel),
a clutch of deer, a hawk rapt by the rabbit
in its talons—not all these everyday.

Some days, nothing. Or just a blood trail where
a possum dragged its signifier up
out of the indivisible ocean.


Lesley Jenike’s full-length collections include Ghost of Fashion and Holy Island. A new chapbook of poems, Punctum, is winner of the Wick Chapbook Competition for 2015 and is forthcoming from Kent State University Press in 2017. Individual poems have appeared in Poetry, Gettysburg Review, Southern Review, Rattle, Smartish Place and many other journals. She teaches literature and creative writing at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, where she lives with her husband and young daughter.

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How fluidly and brutally and whimsically moves the mind here. Like a true fairytale, magic and macabre.
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