Monday 5 May 2014

3 Poems by Jessica Housand-Weaver


My daughter has a shadow
no one else can see--

Like her reflection
in the blackwater river

stained with tannins,
old leaves sinking down,

the dark-haired girl
skips through the mire.

Those floral barrettes,
lilies in the deep,

while my daughter hops
along the bank, sunlight

glinting on her sandy curls,
studying the wake of pebbles:

How the small stones fit in her fist
like a child’s cool hand.

How the image in the still water
reaches out to catch

the slick-faced pebbles
between hollow fingers.

Potter’s Field

H[e]art Island, NYC
early 1900s

Sometimes at night she passes by the raw
furrows, gazing across the black
waters at tiny monuments,
where one-thousand lay among
the loam like neglected puppets.

Heaped together in a crooked toy box
belonging to no child, just unclaimed
plots in stripped land with no use
but to cradle tiny orchards of bone
beneath damp terracotta sheets.

There were four there somewhere,
all interred without so much as a candle,
or a name, mewling creatures she had held once
or many times, the priests proclaiming
a gracious God had taken away to a better place.

She doesn’t speak out to them or linger amid
the orphaned hollows and shadows—
These weren’t worth the expense of a funeral
and women with holes in twopenny shoes
are not permitted to grieve.


Smiling strangers flock around. Keen-eyed
women. Palms twisted
out like gulls. Eager to peck,
groping at my globular belly. Trying
to crack me open.

'Oh, this is your first!' They grin
knowingly. Giving each other
looks. As if I’m not even there. 'Still
green!' Their pointed faces smile. 'No idea
what motherhood is like.'

But they don’t know
about the little girl. The one who never
uttered a sound, but alighted wingless
and early in my arms, at the edge
of the world.

When I hummed her to sleep, she passed
up a childhood by the sea. Diving
beyond the wailing seabirds,
deep. Her gorgonian fingers
like the tiniest star-fish, curled.


Jessica is an internationally published author and poet. She is currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, an upcoming novel called 'Siren's Smile', and a book of
poetry. She is a co-editor of Gravel Literary Magazine. Her publication credits include or are upcoming in: Stone Soup Magazine, Poetic Voices Magazine, Conceptions Southwest, The Dark Fiction Spotlight, Mused-The BellaOnline Literary Review, Malpais Review, Fickle Muses, The New Poet, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, and Red Ochre Lit, among others. Her short stories have won awards. Her first novelette-length work, 'The Scream of the Siren' was published by 'Mocha Memoirs Press' in 2011. She
was recently nominated for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Award. You can view her website at

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