The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Abriana Jetté – Persephone Responds

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Abriana Jetté

 

Persephone Responds

Fast ships slow snakes at the bottom of the sea.
Every earth born creature stood still
the day he came for me.

The downward dive compels a Vesuvian festoon
a vertiginous release that smells
like ocean floor and moon,

like him, but worse. After he had me, he prayed.
Offered gifts. I took multiple sips of his wine.
Whatever red stayed

on my lips I wiped off on his. No one else
knows this. Groveling young girl
is a hard tale to sell

to justify the weather. He shoulders the blame.
Truth is, to be divine means to live
despite the mother’s pain.

While we’re on the matter, there was no chariot
or horse’s canter. The ground opened,
then closed without caveat.

Ocean first. Sea wall and reef. Then nothing
until I began to speak. My words mixed
pale cheeks blushing

by the hour vanishing thoughts of water.
Some scream at the sight of the portico.
I laughed away the daughter.

 

Return to “Storied Mothers.”


Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Abriana Jetté is the editor of the Stay Thirsty Poets Anthology series and the author of the forthcoming children’s book Dr. Cat & Other Tails. Her poetry and prose have been published internationally in journals like The Seneca Review, The Moth, Poetry New Zealand, and more.

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