Anika Jensen

earned a BA in English from Gettysburg College. She has upcoming publications in Metafore and Angles.

My Mother's Body

My mother’s lungs make a clean whistle;
untouched, no cigarette smoke.
She nourishes them with
ujjayi breaths:
inhale, halfway lift,
exhale, forward fold.
One day, when she slips inside the grass,
she might leave them to a dying child,
a desperate scientist,
if blood is not pouring from a bullet

My mother’s spine has roots
below her garden
where once she carved an air pocket womb,
a home
for carrot fingers and corn silk hair.
She protects her children with the rose’s barbed wire.
My mother wants to till the soil long enough
to see her saplings bend beneath
ripe plums instead of withering
into another winter.

My mother’s hands cannot stop a rifle,
but my mother’s body can be torn apart by it
long enough for her students to escape
into the hallway
to spill out of the building
to tell her story to the newspapers the next day.

My mother’s lips will recite her favorite poem as she dies,
the words that woke me as a child in the morning:
Forgive me. They were delicious.
So sweet, and so cold.