Brenda Serpick
REVERSE ILIA




They locked
wings
in the mass
of your body
alternately
fascinating
and revolting
a pretty
mouth
amid the
surgeon’s
mistake

thus
we
become an
artifact
impatient
the
plotting
between
flesh and
its plaster
cast

a modest
supplier
of exalt
the butterfly
it is




ANOTHER HIGH TEMPER





I learned to imagine that I am a desk lamp
Under a capped sky there is specific light

My children see me this way despite the evidence
Sometimes I ask them, Isn’t it

Strange that I am your mother? they think
It’s bizarre when I convert to question marks

Instead of exclamations this is literal
A window fell off its bracing odd track

I was a mess of hair and heartbeat trying to lift it
But every misstep has its own choice

Each minute my sons’ blinking peered to lower
The shrieking of off-centered-windows

But instead I threw some cardboard boxes
Who disagreed with statements like

We are all going to freeze or It is all my fault

This is how children remember their mother’s boxes
Anxious, tensing, will not budge





PARENTHETICALS





once a car called me a bitch through (accursed)
          horn encrusted mouth

human rights (nightmares)
          occurring on my guard

feel their invisible handguns scrape
          (metaphor) inside my shoulder

an (with my son) impression, an (disquiet) inquiry

(some laugh at the discomfort in my mouth)

a car does not want to (slaughter) incarcerate
          to the breathing, it is unconscionable

          (corresponding) gas or brake



Brenda Serpick is the author of three chapbooks: the other conjunction in it (Furniture Press 2018), No Sequence But Luck (3 Sad Tigers Press) and The Female Skeleton Makes Her Debut (Hophophop Press). She was a participating poet for Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project (July 2016), and her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in Tule Review, The Potomac, Free State Review, eccolinguistics, Printer’s Devil Review, Spiral Orb, LIT, Lungfull! Magazine, and Boog City – among other fine journals.

She currently teaches 12th grade English and creative writing for Baltimore City Public Schools. See some of her students' work here.