Book of Shadows, Written While My Family Attends Sunday Morning Mass & I Eat a Pink Donut in the Fellowship Hall

I’ve done with shame
dirty small scars on dirty secret body

I’ve done with copper pennies
slick in the hands of one so angry

In the grimoire of my heart
a lodestone casting metal

I’ve done with coal for breasts
& egg rot for sex

I will lay my heart where I please
shear tulip heads

If judgment rains
if yellowed grass if knee stains

I am thundercloud I am storm
dirt rutted in mud earth

& so goddamn free

Jennifer Givhan, a National Endowment for the Arts & PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices fellow, is a Mexican-American writer & activist from the Southwestern desert. She is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Landscape with Headless Mama (2015 Pleiades Editors’ Prize), Protection Spell (2016 Miller Williams Poetry Prize Series edited by Billy Collins), & Girl with Death Mask(2017 Blue Light Books Prize chosen by Ross Gay & forthcoming from Indiana University Press). Givhan also has three chapbooks available or forthcoming from Glass Poetry Press, dancing girl press, & Yellow Flag Press. Her novella Jubilee is currently a finalist for the Bakwin Award from Carolina Wren Press and her novel Trinity Sight has signed with Curtis Brown Literary Agency. Her honors include the Frost Place Latin@ Scholarship, a National Latino Writers’ Conference Scholarship, the Lascaux Review Poetry Prize, Phoebe Journal’s Greg Grummer Poetry Prize chosen by Monica Youn, the Pinch Poetry Prize chosen by Ada Limón, & seven Pushcart nominations. Her work has appeared in Best of the Net, Best New Poets, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Ploughshares, POETRY, TriQuarterly, Boston Review, AGNI, Crazyhorse, Witness, Southern Humanities Review, Missouri Review, & The Kenyon Review, among many others. She can be found at as well as Facebook & Twitter (@JennGivhan).

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