There are no I’s in these poems / there are only eyes in these poems. My gaze is exact, though my reliance is on another layer, another fold—I take these stories from the evening news, from the digital newspaper reports. My images come through a glass lens, the distance of mechanics complete: camera’s wandering eye, the flattened landscape of a monitor. I think, over and over: This isn’t my story to tell.
Author: Molly Sutton Kiefer
Immediately, I knew I had made the wrong choice. My own need for transparency and truthfulness had not taken into consideration their potential for horror, shock, disgust, and confusion. My younger daughter cried and wanted to snuggle her head in my lap. My older daughter looked absently around the room. There was a long silence, punctuated only by my younger daughter’s whimpers. This was beyond their comprehension, beyond their level of understanding. I had crossed the line, shown them a monster.
Did you think your hand
could rearrange the world
with no consequence?
That I’m just some damn doll,
some pupa, sold
on not eating?
How must she have felt, their second child thrashing
inside of her—did she already agree with him
that her happiness lay in sleep? In dreaming
of lying in some other room, of a less fickle moon?
Later that Crayola morning, Wonder Woman coloring
book and a stack of DC Comics spread across the
black soapstone counter in her lab, her fascination
with cells never quite translated when I preferred
story, a woman who deflected bullets with her wrists,
an Amazon island forbidden to men, a goddess
The men know the truth of twine, cut and tie, chaff and straw, the bundles shat and separated. In the yellow air visions mingle. Animal and plant. Who does the workhorse see with his broad eyes? What stops the sky from slipping off earth’s yolk?
I only asked my mother about the war once.
Matchbox triptych: a parrot with human
teeth, a man with a mouthful of blue
rubies, and a faceless child drinking
from a river running backwards.
I look at the names of boats —
a misplaced list.
Only remember the word, naught.