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MARIA OF THE ROTTING FACE by Emily Jaeger

llena eres de gracia
             crouched on a stump,
                         feet dug into the red dust,
you peel the mandioca
             they feed you each day
                         to ten white blades.

Bless this home
             bendita tú eres.
                         Your children,
their hundred chickens,
             fourteen pigs, six cows,
                         three hives—
you counted them
             before words turned
                         to blue gum
and you buried them
             with your teeth
                         in the corner of the low hut
they built you
             between the rows
                         of pregnant squash.

Bendito es el fruto.
             They place your meal
                         on the fire
and you consider
             the flame: a stranger
                         carrying a tiger-
lily
             and you have
                         forgotten
what it all
             means.
                         Your rosary of flies
memorizing
             the days since
                         ahora y en la hora
they called you mother.

 

 

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About Emily Jaeger

Emily Jaeger
Emily Jaeger is an MFA candidate at UMASS Boston and co-editor/co-founder of Window Cat Press. A LAMBDA Literary and Tent fellow, her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Arc-24, Soundings East, and Incessant Pipe Salon among others. Emily's chapbook The Evolution of Parasites is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press in June 2016.