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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 4, December 2018

Cyndi Lloyd
Riverton, Utah, USA

September 25

this religion insists
I chose my parents —

I will be born in four days
after the harvest moon
conceived out of wedlock —
an accident —
to a Mormon woman
who will wear shame like underclothes
and to a man whose hands will ache
to touch me, guide my hands
to touch him.
She will dress me like one of her dolls
slap my face for “talking back”
leave me in a parking lot.
He will pop off jokes to our family
kick the dog, tell me
to keep smiling.
When I’m older, his eyes will fondle
me. She will be overweight, hiding
the chocolate cakes from him.
He will look at other women
and compare.
They will argue their entire marriage.
They will teach my siblings and me to keep

In four days, I will slip from her wound
into a straight-line wind.

Note: inspired by Lucille Clifton’s poem June 20.



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