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Jenny Maaketo

Michelle Boisseau Prize Finalist

Another Month, Another Red Question

Every blood clot from between
            these lips is another breath less

or lost, never from our making.
            I listen to the insect symphony recede

with first light, wipe front to back.
            My eyes follow the flush of color,

a blur of blood and waiting names
            that recede too for another month

with water and the closed toilet seat.
            These names sound out our songs

of ram or gem, though we dare not
            sing them yet. Their lyrics are dreams

that fall from me with the speed
            of a silk slip. I wrap myself

in a terry cloth robe the way I wanted
            Mother to hold me, the way I know

I would cradle you, and rock you,
            not the way I am now, alone on the front porch

with Matt still waking upstairs. I sit still and sip
            a cup of alchemy—which is my green tea,

milk, and honey. I watch the day become
            from dew and soft sounds

as a hummingbird hovers to drink
            from the spider lilies

my Matt spotted just last week.
            Two clusters of red, then three, then more

in our field of green, wild and overgrown.
            To see this tiny, blur-winged bird

drink from blooms as red
            as frank blood—how nature makes


life’s bud from life seem as effortless

            as months passing. This should be

enough, shouldn’t it? This hummingbird

            suckling from the center of this and that red—

This should be my answer.


Look! Do you see it? The monarchs are mating

            like a waltz above me

                                                  into the warm air—


Jenny Maaketo (she/her) is a neurodivergent poet, psychiatric nurse, former professional actor, and first-year poetry candidate in the MFA Creative Writing program at the University of Mississippi.  She was named runner-up in the 2022 Patty Friedmann Writing Competition and her poems appear or are forthcoming in Cordite Poetry Review, The Peauxdunque Review, The Madison Review, Ponder Review, Gris-Gris, Cathexis Northwest Press, Host Publications, and Francis House among others. She lives in Abbeville, Mississippi on 66 acres with her husband, four dogs, two cats, and lots of love.

Bear Review


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