Katharina Kepler’s Confession (1546-1622)

Like any single mutter hexed
after feeding the youngest my milch
after sealing my thyme and poems in jars
after dodging the jealous glazier’s wife’s
enkindling gossip, that night
I trudged my kinder up the highest hillside
within earshot of the dullest neighbors
witch burners, fig-leafed pundits,
unemployed trial groupies, clergymen,
all who advised me while climbing to smile
as if my ill temper could taper
the great grinning comet cometh.

I laugh—oh the things I would have conjured
could I conjure: silicone Ohropax, flashlights,
popsicles, plastic diapers, tampons—
I was always on my period—the Rabbit, a better
quality mortar and pestle, erotic massages,
literacy, metempsychosis bound for
Dorothy Parker, or just a night alone
with a cancerless unshrinkable cigarette wand,

but Johannas wanted to go
so we sat crushing the grass, necks strained
the ladybugs and caterpillars under me dying
as I introduced my son to the great icy comet
like an eternally underpaid matchmaker
for us all.



Writer’s note: This poem was inspired by the true story of Katharina Kepler, the mother of the astronomer Johannes Kepler, a key figure in the scientific revolution. A single mother, Katharina was accused of witchcraft by her village and suffered terribly in prison. She really did take a young Johannes to see the Great Comet of 1577.


An erasure poem of "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number" by Aaliyah

Mother Chimera

When I woke in the recovery room after surgery, a nurse’s head hovered over mine. “It’s okay,” she said. “I had one too, and now I have three healthy kids.”
And just like that, I gained access to a world of miscarriages.

Men Paid Me To Eat

The first time was in college. A boyfriend, or something between a boyfriend and a hookup, asked me if he could eat some peanut butter off my stomach. “You mean, off my boobs?” I said. And he said, “No, I really want to eat it off your belly while I squeeze it.”