Thursday, 22 November 2018

A poem by Cathryn Shea


She was born with a bad gene.
Penury they call it. Lack.
Passed through the blood,
indigence hidden in her DNA.
The mutation she couldn’t escape.

She belonged to one of those
defective family trees, a loser
in a fitter family contest.
She wasn’t a blue-ribbon baby
like a prize calf or grand pumpkin.
More like a bumpkin
that would devolve the species.

This knack for being poor
snuck through the gauntlet of heredity.
The state tried hard to keep her mother
from breeding. Before
they tied her tubes.

So here she is today, torn
from an expectant history.
She wears ripped jeans,
has no means.
Her brain may not be
bad. She learns
a new word

every day. Every day
a new word,
like riven.

Cathryn Shea is the author of four chapbooks, including “It’s Raining Lullabies” (dancing girl press, 2017). “The Secrets Hidden in a Pear Tree” is forthcoming from dancing girl press in 2019. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net and recently appears in Tar River Poetry, Gargoyle, Permafrost, Rust + Moth, Tinderbox, and elsewhere. See and @cathy_shea on Twitter.

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