84: Grandmothers by Jennie Malboeuf

Where does it all begin?

God is good; woman bleeds.

It was the depression or before.

You were cooking over an open

greasy fire and the house burned

to the ground. And you were cutting

the heads off chickens and laughing

at the horror of them walking backward

and dancing. And you were slitting

the throats of two-hundred-pound hogs.

And keeping your future husband

from priesthood with seven children.

You showed me my stuffed puppy legs

in the air. He’s dead! you said.

Or you were a little girl with an iron

and a board for Christmas. You learned

to drive stick in a field. And you gave

birth to father jumping off trains

or you gave birth to mother

who only gave birth to two.

You were a witch, our house

Adorned with dead animals,

fish curling to free themselves

from the wall.


This poem can be found in the volume, Best New Poets 2016.

Think about how the poem made you feel. How different was your grandmother’s perceived role in the world as a woman, and both the expectations placed and what’s possible for a woman today?

May you live out another beautiful poem in the collection of your life today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *