Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Coatlicue Defends, Amongst Others, the Tunguska Event
Jennifer Givhan
after Gloria Anzaldúa

First, I stole just two of Jupiter’s moons, sliced
midline to let flow their bowels till
my sluicing mouth bared jawbone, chewed
white meat, its death-cud & onions.
For my hair, their jagged rinds,
two little tusks knifing my forehead.
On my back, I carried contempt,
a cradle sweet as cake

Next came Venus, whose half-eaten peach
I peeled, his sulfur-stained teeth,
crushed like old tin cans;
then I left him to tend the planetarium
like a sad vegetable garden in his abuela’s backyard,
the one place in his solar system most like Hell.
His transit, a red bellybutton
brutalizing the sun, but it’s my
embryonic eye. My bruja’s caldron
aftermath.

Did I do them wrong? My men &
their babies? Bruises of womb,
breeching stone gods, pit vipers spitting
cottonmouth-black. But there’s no unwashing these deserts
I create. I couldn’t admit
accident.

This is a story of
catastrophe, honey. You’re the result of ancient
impacts. So too, your own bright new moon, horns
tilted toward the East,
split in two; I set
it wobbling, swinging like a bell,
a flying mountain. Those Siberian trees?
Birthday candles
I blew
then made a wish.


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.