From the archives — I Write in the House of Her Narrative — Risa Denenberg

I Write in the House of Her Narrative

Don’t ask me about my mother.
Don’t tell me to lean towards joy.

Would you tell a dog barking for bone,
a babe bawling for breast to be jubilant?

My mother was not. And so I am not.
She of the gilded mask and robe,

inscribed with molasses and tobacco. Here,
where sunlight is rationed, I’m the ugly ingrate.

When I pull on the pink slippers and shout:
Look, Ma. I can pirouette, she taps ash.

When I show her my first poem, she
upstages me with her own version.

Body from body. It’s just too fucking intimate.
My infant form faltered, crowned once,

drowned twice. Nearer now to my own line break,
I lean towards the volta. The mother still inserts herself

between couplets. A third foot.
We did our little dance.

I was not chosen. Such a blessing
the dead have no memories.

by Risa Denenberg

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, October 12, 2021

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim


4 responses to “From the archives — I Write in the House of Her Narrative — Risa Denenberg”

  1. Barbara Rockman Avatar
    Barbara Rockman

    This poem is a brilliant example of subject enacted in language and form. Chilling! Startling and brave, love it!

  2. Rose Mary Boehm Avatar

    This is mindbogglingly good and moving.

  3. Joan Kantor Avatar

    Wow! Just Wow! This wordsmith has for once lost her words!! A truly brilliant poem!
    It was a punch in the gut for me-I thought I was the only child whose parent was a competitor instead of a nurturer. Memories….

  4. D. E. Kern Avatar
    D. E. Kern

    This poem successfully pours a novel into twenty lines in a manner that is arresting.

Leave a Reply




©2006—2023 Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY — Privacy Policy