Detention Center

by Jenn Givhan

With fire ants at our feet with bore holes at our legs
with tree bark sinewed at our hips with bleached bone

-branches striated muscle tenuous fibers troubling
dust red under our beds with Santa Muerte beside us

with mosquitos gorging our skin with sun skulking our
sternums collar bones napes of necks as tortugas swollen-

bellied as tanks as our mothers laboring to birth us squatted
to dirt—we couldn’t find which spell to cast

so we birthed our own.

If chains were wild & we sweetgrass
what wouldn’t we unearth.

Jennifer Givhan a Mexican-American writer and activist from the Southwestern desert, is the author of four full-length poetry collections, most recently Rosa’s Einstein (Camino Del Sol Poetry Series, 2019), two chapbooks, and the novel Trinity Sight (Blackstone Publishing, 2019). Her work has appeared in The Best of the NetBest New PoetsPoetry DailyVerse DailyPOETRY MagazineThe Rumpus, The New RepublicAGNI, TriQuarterly, The Nation, CrazyhorseWitness, Southern Humanities Review, and Kenyon Review. She has received, among other honors, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices fellowship, and New Ohio Review’s Poetry Prize, chosen by Tyehimba Jess. Givhan holds a Master’s degree in English from California State University Fullerton and an MFA from Warren Wilson College, and she can be found discussing feminist motherhood at as well as Facebook & Twitter @JennGivhan.

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