about the author

Jessica Lynn Suchon is a poet, essayist, and women’s rights advocate. She is currently an MFA candidate at Southern Illinois University where her poetry has received recognition from the Academy of American Poets. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Radar Poetry and Rust + Moth, among others. In 2016, she was named an Emerging Writer Fellow by Aspen Words, a partner of the Aspen Institute. She currently resides and writes in Carbondale, Illinois, where she runs poetry workshops and lives with her boyfriend Josh Myers and their dog Gracie.


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Because Everything I Do That Summer Is a
Metaphor for Abortion

Jessica Lynn Suchon



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I ask my mother to let me plant
fig trees in the yard.

My mother warns me
          when winter comes
I could lose them in a cold spell.

How many times
          have I almost told her

Mama,
          each day I unearth                      a dead thing.


In the lattice of dogwood
and carolina silverbell,
                     a woodpecker

drums over the snap of shotguns            in the ravine.

My mother never wanted                       a child,

but once told me how she fell
five months into her pregnancy,              twisted and broke

her ankle—snapped in half                      to keep me safe.
My mother

who never wanted a child,
but got me. I think

I understand what she meant
when she said                                        But I love you now,

how love and want
are rarely the same.

How unwilling
she was to become                                a mother.

The hole in front of me                           wails open
and I keep digging.

My mother                                            on her knees
beside me cradles                                  mangled

roots in her hands, a prayer                    she lowers into the ground.





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