Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Manju Speaks
Jennifer Givhan

Rajasthan police were stunned when a marble miner showed up at an outpost holding his daughter Manju’s bloody head in one hand & a sword in another. Manju had been living with her parents after leaving her husband two years ago. She’d allegedly had affairs and arranged to elope.

The blade did not slip, was not
a trick, a blood-baked flick.

That flanged head, that shocked black
hair that father carried through town

triumphant, his bulbous face
twisting, his dishonored sandals

clapping dirt—not
mine not mine not mine.

I didn’t have a neck.
I didn’t have a lover.

No wedding, ever. No demon father.
I belong to cloudskull, starfruit, dreamfog.

My ma’s hands swallowed me back
in the field where she was late picking pulses.

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.