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Jen Jabaily-Blackburn

Nursery Song

What belongs to me

what’s mine to tell

it’s hard to know

I remember falling

asleep in a hammock

on the bright olive

green porch

my grandmother

holding my arm

gently turning

my hand my wrist

like the clapper of a bell

saying something

in the neighborhood

of but the abbéss oh feck oh feck

Betty I bet a bet on Fett

Becky odd vet divests a net

“behi a beh a feh a feh”

I don’t know

if I am doing violence

or if violence has been done to me

a gradual stripping

I don’t know which

spirits never to be called

are about to knock

I can’t speak to my render’s

accuracy      but it rings

you are safe

you can sleep

I turn your hand

I turn your wrist

you can sleep

you are safe

Jen Jabaily

Jen Jabaily-Blackburn lives with her family in Western Massachusetts and works as admin support for the Poetry Center at Smith College. Twice selected for Best New Poets (2014 and 2016), her most recent work appears in Rattle, The Common and Massachusetts Review.

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