Monica Robinson: the things we inherited from our mothers were bone bright and brassy

never write a poem about your mother. mother, why didn’t you raise me
seaside? mother,
why didn’t you sew me wings? mother, mother, this poem has teeth,
fingernails, a life i will never carry. mother,
brightest, transplanter of gardens, giver of life, a reckoning, a fable.
mother, child, unwilling, breathing, barely. mother,
child, earth axis turn of quiet survival, of allowed to be loud. mother,
caldera, mother. caldera,
lithograph of our undoing. days end, shelve ourselves, mask us both,

be gentle, girl, with your hands full of eggshell full of hope. cradle it
between your fingers. cradle it down the main street, ignore the stares.
grow tiny rosebud seeds in the cup of it, watered with rain and dusk light.
set it gently on your nightstand as you sleep, carry it with you on mid-
morning stumbled bathroom trips. cradle its thirst beneath the sink water,
hands cupped, eyes yawning.

if i were god, i would give all women wings and a switchblade born into  their fists. i would give them armored hearts and make their mouths  impervious to fear, or stuttering. i would make them unafraid 

gods of the earth. out of one god, many; springing from the ground with  the strength of sequoias and the speed of daffodils, to kiss life’s skies in  an array of thorns. a cruel joke, to create us 

and then cage us in our own fear, to raise us in a world that demands to  be feared. think of the time we have lost to fear, the night skies we  missed, dust walks untraveled, uneasy hours 

passed in an endless string of hallways, each more narrow than the last.  the garden is a threat of garter snakes, poison oak, hidden thistles, and us,  without gloves, 

with soft hands and pocket smiles, grimaces shrunk inwards, a quiet  swell of anger buried beneath violets on the garden’s edge. anger, this  forbidden night phenomenon,  

the shoe box beneath the marital bed. i have given and given and each  time it is less worth the strain. mother, mother, against a rusted throat  silver voices squeak, against swollen feet, abject 

cravings, viciously making itself known. gift her a golden key and she  will string it around her neck; gift her a hardship and she will give it a  hesitant soul. the same 

child in rainboots chases the screams from the gas station, knife in hand,  returns with the plate number but not the blood. it is a vicious place my  love, my child, mother. 

if you are not prepared to fight, are you prepared to fall, my love, my  love?

Monica Robinson

Monica Robinson ( is a queer experimental poet and recycled artist, mixing mediums to create fresh works of exploratory literature. She is eternally haunted by the rural Midwestern landscape in which she grew up, and she has been writing her brand of the weird and the wild ever since.

Monica is the author of Exit WoundsEARTH IS FULL; GO BACK HOMEbury me in iron and ivy: a midwestern gothic, relayed in pieces, and is currently working on her first full-length fiction work. She has also been published in Persephone’s Daughters, Mookychick Mag, and Stone of Madness Press, and currently works with Sword & Kettle Press and Frayed Edge Press on social media management and content creation.

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