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Published: Sat Jul 1 2006
Wosene Worke Kosrof, The Inventor V (detail), 2022, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
A Summary of Roots

I am done being sturdy, of bones.
I braid the small billow I am.

I assume nothing. Not the whole day
idle as wine in the glass. Not the heart,

a flounce of took roses. Not even
elegy, a metaphor for what.

Once the world was a womb
where I broke my throat with

trying to say. My mother’s blood
was my blood running beads all through

the garden, while the body took on
a crossroads’ weight. I opened my palm

for the first time: sight. Polluted
with the stigmata of briefly alone,

pressed like lilac in an unthick book,
an aspirin in the mouth of pain.

Jennifer Militello has had poems in The New RepublicThe North American ReviewThe Paris Review, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. Her work has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes and awarded a Writers at Work Literary Fellowship. She is author of the chapbook Anchor Chain, Open Sail (Finishing Line Press, 2006). (updated 11/2006)

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