If Eurydice Were My Mother
She would’ve played the electric guitar.
She’d have unraveled the white buds of her future
like corn husks—each tiny skull, a firework.
I’d be the baby at her heels, snake she’d squash,
swallow, become. Could she have known
that Lynyrd Skynyrd would string
my ribcage someday? Unspeakable as scraping
uterine tissue, papering happy birthday
to my duckling-colored bone frame.
She never existed but in the hell they put her.
Perhaps in the end we must return to gnawing
rats. She’d understand that mammals have played
this trick for millennia, surviving in clawed-dirt
dugouts and eating their own slicking pink young.
These are the stories we create. The myths we ate.
Listen to the half-beat of our curse, clay-old
& sticking. Listen to your dear ones crying.
Eurydice, are you calling me home?
Jennifer Givhan was a 2010 Pen Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow, as well as a 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award finalist and a 2012 Vernice Quebodeaux Pathways Prize finalist for her poetry collection, and she is a fellowship recipient in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College. Her poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in over fifty journals, including Prairie Schooner, DASH Journal (where her poem won first prize), Indiana Review (where her poem was a finalist for the 2013 poetry prize), Contrary, Rattle, and The Los Angeles Review. She teaches composition at Western New Mexico University.