Illustration by Melina Huang

They just kept coming. Eight daughters. 

They stopped trying her;

he gave up. They would argue 

for the rest of their marriage 

how far stop was from give

My mother was second, raised Australian,

lowered American. Swam for her life. 


Florida, oxidized green, 

obliged her on this point, rising 

out of the pool into its mildew. 

She ruined a hip. Sifted between colleges. 

I wasn’t alive. For all I know she 

ran off with a Kennedy before killing him. 


Did a good bit of running. 

Further conjecture (all poetry)— 

I needn’t beg you to imagine my mother.

She was never a metaphor 

until we just kept coming. 

Flew a thousand miles to see 

me for an hour a day under nurse supervision. 

Only those gone or left fit in stanzas. 

I have the privilege to be barred from poetry. 

She saves every room she fills, 

and she is a woman who pours.

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