The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood
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Garissa University College by Elizabeth Lara

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Garissa University College

     – Kenya, April 2nd, 2015

Roused from sleep, she stands
naked, voice locked in her tongue.
Around her, her sisters, gripped
in the chains of their eyes

locked on the masked figures
the long, dull barrels of their rifles.
The one who approaches her –
she can smell the sulfur on his hands

his body’s sweat and dust –
asks, What is the name
of the Prophet’s first wife?
Before the gunpowder explodes

before the world goes black
how slowly the bullet moves
desiring her heat, seeking
the death spot on her forehead.


Elizabeth Lara has worked as a language teacher and editor. Her poems have appeared in print and online, including Mom Egg Review; Edna; Confluencia in the Valley; Truck; and The Wide Shore: A Journal of Global Women’s Poetry. She was awarded a residency at the Millay Colony in 2011. With B. Weisbrot and D. A. Holnes, she edited Happiness: The Delight-Tree – An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry (UNSRC Society of Writers, 2015).

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