The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Poetry by Jennifer L. Freed

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Jennifer L. Freed

 

“Have You Locked up the Knives?”

In answer to Ms. K, Department of Children and Family Services

Staples, thumb tacks, twist ties, tooth picks.
The tips of unfolded paperclips.
The spirals of wire binding her college-ruled notebooks.
Sticks. Stones. Safety
pins.
The seashells
she gathered last summer, if smashed
underfoot. Shards
of any water glass, jelly jar, ketchup bottle.
Tweezers
Earring posts
Fingernails

Don’t you see? My daughter doesn’t need
a knife.

(Published with the approval of the poet’s daughter)

 

Origami

—the paper cranes you used to make,
then unmake—
hidden flaps opening, exposing
fold on top of fold.

I never saw
the sequence of sharp creases
that made the bird a bird.

Now
you touch a scar
on your arm, now you say
a name—
++++++small offerings
of clues. You, pointing at angles
I hadn’t known
to look for.

I keep trying to follow
faint marks, foreign patterns.

Each time I think I have it right,
the shape I make does not match yours.

You snarl at what I do not know,
fall silent when I ask
you to tell me

(Published with the approval of the poet’s daughter)


Jennifer L Freed lives in Massachusetts. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in various journals including Atlanta Review, Comstock Review, Rust + Moth, The Worcester Review, Zone 3, and others.  A chapbook, These Hands Still Holding, was a finalist in the 2013 New Women’s Voices competition. She is working on a full-length manuscript of poems related to her mother’s cerebral hemorrhage in 2018.

 

 

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