The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Jendi Reiter – Poetry

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Jendi Reiter

 

Broken Family Couch

I miss the neighbors who used to jump shirtless on the trampoline
in the bramble woods they didn’t own.

October, early, the sun is mooning through the fog,
translucent disk, surprise of perfect geometry.

Her boyish hair and rippling brown ribs,
his black beard and plié legs an Edward Gorey sketch.

Pre-dawn wires smoked, sparked — emptied of renters,
the house burst out its curbside trash of wicker and mirrors.

A mother, a husband, her children, their father, a baby.
Their rose-colored couch sinks into the unweeded lawn.

Everyone pretends someone else will take the decision
off their hands, till the first mold-fertilizing rain.

I miss the neighbors who cleaned roadkill birds for stew,
child in high-heeled Disney Princess slippers hunting with arrows.

Where stinkhorns once raised hooded shafts from spring mulch,
a blue couch appears, one September overnight, beside the pink.

My actual father, I’m sure,
never lived anywhere furniture sprouted without a landlord.

Rain after rain blighted the summer tomatoes,
the new normal, says the pocket computer.

Round equinox, the blue couch is gone,
and a rolled-up mattress tilts swaddled on the pink one’s arm.

Another storm soaks their vigil.
When the summer evening was pearly and clear

a red-tailed hawk perched on our front yard wires
and he and the neighbors and I looked at each other for hours.


Jendi Reiter is the author of the novel Two Natures (Saddle Road Press, 2016), the short story collection An Incomplete List of My Wishes (Sunshot Press, 2018), and four poetry books and chapbooks, most recently Bullies in Love (Little Red Tree, 2015). Two Natures won the Rainbow Award for Best Gay Contemporary Fiction and was a finalist for the Book Excellence Awards. Reiter is the editor of WinningWriters.com, an online resource site for creative writers.

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