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Which Mother Witch

04 April, 2018: Which Mother Witch


by Krysia Orlowski

Which Mother Witch

Motherhood is a perversed child
's universe
                        I at its center          paralyzed witch
Mother you vanished or me you banished
—what answers you seek?                              
                                                            (the egg came anyway)
Your hands are like meathooks          did they caress best they could?
Its not about lack          of love it's the inability
                                                                                    to fake
A non-ached head           A restful bed
                        A rusted metal bird
Mother you are this stubborn
                                                       ring of black
Once you consoled like a jar of home
                                    canned summer peaches —
          even canned goods rot
Oh Mother          when the grinder shredded
                                                                        the maple
I covered my ears          I thought of you

“Which Mother Witch” by Krysia Orlowski. © Krysia Orlowski, 2017. Used by permission of the author.
Krysia Orlowski lives and writes in Cleveland. Her poems have appeared in Barn Owl Review, Dressing Room Journal, Helen, jubilat and RealPoetik. Orlowski is the author of the play Jan and the Trickster (Talespinner Children’s Theater, 2018). She teaches at Cleveland State University and is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. Listen to her read her work.


Write a prose poem based on the following first line from Mary Jo Bang, replacing the underlined words with whatever words you would like:
My mother was glamorous in a way I knew I never could be.

My uncle was strong in a way I knew I never could be. His kindness was his strength. He never wavered. He forgave and endured. No matter the wrong, he found the right; the way to win. I wish I could be like him. Maybe there is time.
4/4/2018 7:47:08 PM

Diane Kendig
N,K, Hasen, you might get a kick out of Szymborska's poem, "In Praise of My Sister," quite a different take.
4/4/2018 11:11:55 AM

N. K. Hasen
Excel Easily

My sister was gifted in a way I knew I never could be. She could study once. Absorb texts and notes in press deadlines before an exam. Her mind churning wheels to manage what she has learned. Her grades rallied to nearly perfect. Rarely heard her practice the clarinet. She managed to get first chair. Her powerful stroke she had for swimming. Better than my flailing, struggling in waters deep. Things came easier to her than me. I understood, I needed more time. Needed to reread. To let notes, sink in. My processing system different in digesting what I learn. I needed to practice more but still struggle with musical notes. That is probably why I prefer to look through lens of a camera. Snap the picture so I don’t lose the memories of what I have seen.
4/4/2018 11:05:57 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.