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Jennifer Givhan
Writer of the Month


Nobody’s going to save you     Face it   You will have to do it      yourself   

 ―Gloria Anzaldúa


Not when your limbs are gone not when your fallopian tubes
knotted    Not when you’ve sputtered to a dead end off the Boca
Negra road & the cliff is the only way down    Not when your
husband hits you with a brush in self-defense when you are
beating him for your child’s screams      Not when you believe
there’s anything else to believe     Not when you take a knife to
his chest & tell him you’ll pull it out that sac beating (for) you &
you’ll eat it & you mean it      even when the bloodred cords
holding you to the kids (to him) are pulleys & ropes at your
throat & he’s holding nothing over you but everything you love
like those bulging rocks black at the mouth of the mountain that
won’t ever fall      not those ones above your head painted by
ancients by your ancestors (not his) & you don’t hate him but
yourself for you keep imagining something will change

There’s a heart in a bag      (face it)      throw it over              the
edge           that  thing  pumping  like  fury  like  fire  inside           
you never belonged to him   



(First appeared in The Normal School)

Jennifer Givhan is a Mexican-American writer and activist from the Southwestern desert and  the author of three full-length poetry collections: Landscape with Headless Mama (2015 Pleiades Editors’ Prize), Protection Spell (2016 Miller Williams Poetry Prize Series), and Girl with Death Mask (2017 Blue Light Books Prize). Her honors include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices fellowship, the Frost Place Latin@ scholarship, a National Latino Writers’ Conference scholarship, the Lascaux Review Poetry Prize, Phoebe Journal’s Greg Grummer Poetry Prize, and the Pinch Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Best of the Net, Best New Poets, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Ploughshares, POETRY, TriQuarterly, Boston Review, AGNI, Crazyhorse, Witness, Southern Humanities Review, Missouri Review, and The Kenyon Review. She is editor-in-chief of Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and teaches at The Poetry Barn and Western New Mexico University.