The basement drain gurgles & the wind knocks
the window & the barn owl’s face is treed.
I consume pears, cheese, stories about murder.
In the bayou, the engorged sun crowns in morning.
I piggy-back a sweaty child. I try not to parent
kids who are not mine, but they live in our house,
they wake me at night, they want a story
in my best impression of a French au pair.
With my true crime knowledge, I trim the hedges.
This is where the night stalker hides.
I carry the wood axe to the shed,
its stumped blade like too much aftermath.
I want love & not fear but these are the same.
The giant bridge over the Mississippi frowns
toward the city where once a woman told me
she’d end her life. Then she vanished in the night
wearing my name. My sister lies awake, recording sputters
that drum her belly like two bagged birds.
These days I want to sleep, really sleep, with the window
thrown open. I want to meet my sister’s son.
Jenny Molberg is the author of two poetry collections: Marvels of the Invisible (winner of the Berkshire Prize, Tupelo Press) and Refusal (LSU Press). She has received fellowships and scholarships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sewanee Writers Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and the Longleaf Writers Conference. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, Tupelo Quarterly, Boulevard, The Missouri Review,West Branch, and other publications. She is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Central Missouri, where she directs Pleiades Press and co-edits Pleiades magazine. Find her online at jennymolberg.com.