They were in band together, she a reedless
woodwind and he a percussionist, her family teased
¡Mira! It looks like he plays the egg slicer!
They were both thin that night at the roller rink,
one last date at the Hawaiian-themed dance
since he’d soon go off to college but her parents
wouldn’t let her and the nuns wouldn’t take her
with what was in her belly. So I imagine
she must’ve danced like her heart would stop
if she stopped. The mathematics
of Mama’s future: seltzer logic and paper bag cravings.
How she doubtless looked in her hula-skirt,
the sticking board of her belly
still flat against the lime green grass, swirling
just beginning to understand I was the reason
for her dizziness and egglonging, not yet feeling
my flutter, my lacewings growing stronger.
Jennifer Givhan was a Pen Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow, as well as a St. Lawrence Book Award finalist and a Vernice Quebodeaux Pathways Prize finalist for her poetry collection, and she is a fellowship recipient in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in over fifty journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets 2013, Prairie Schooner, DASH Journal (where her poem won the 2013 poetry prize), Indiana Review (where her poem was a finalist for the 2013 poetry prize), Contrary, Rattle, and The Los Angeles Review. She teaches composition at Western New Mexico University.