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Jules Wood

A Thursday, 1959


When did she decide A sequence of doors A pattern of raps No evidence but shame Whore In the swollen kitchen They laid her Against smooth wood Ginned memory Her child stone Her hips shape why Legs matchsticks Their ends smoke Her hands splinterless Her child Smoke Something unresponsible delicious and dried Past recognition A hind leg hanging


The gurgling hush in the room Her shame a sleeping  tongue What registers Woman Woman Woman 

Woman Her eyes closed Her mother her fingernails digging The table a palimpsest of women Her hands search Come up bloodless Not even gin soothes the smoothness under hand The table uninterrupted by her Her skin catching nothing Cradling water in the after bath Her loud loss on a shelf

I find myself afraid of my grandmother’s blood

her past needles / stuck spot

hand blue, red on my hand as I lift her / blood mixing

a tipped dixie cup of wine where she fell / skin

fatless, flush to muscle / too thin

to band-aid / what I can offer too thin to clot

Jules Wood is a queer femme burlesque performer and MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her poetry has appeared in Lana Turner, Word Riot, and The Cossack Review, among other journals. Photo credit: Suma Jane Dark

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