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These Years, Lawn Furniture
Jennifer Givhan

She’s lying face down on the front lawn.
Do you think she’s all right?

I once punched myself repeatedly
in the arm. Some people cut themselves—
my teenage brother calls this “emo”—

Yes. I am emotional.

Here’s the thing, I’m at the top of my classes.
I recite Millay to my pillows.
Sensible, rational. Yes, but don’t you see? 
I’m a witch, nevertheless.
Anne Sexton?
Oh yeah. I have been her kind.

I have too many things to say—

I want to write about the time I jumped on the
hood of your green truck, trying to keep you from
driving away for good—I might as well have been
the one behind the wheel for all the good it did me.

Is there still a dent? Does it match my own?

And the bruises on my arm.
People must have thought you gave them to me.
I guess that’s what I wanted them to think,
since the marks you left were never
visible, save behind my
midnight blue eyelids—perfectly
closed in front of company.

When I married another,
did you wonder what might have happened
if I’d never found those tickets in
your email in-box? The ones you said
you were saving for a surprise?

How ridiculous I am that
I still wonder, and have wondered
(years, years really!)
if those tickets were for me.

I recently heard that band on the radio—
I hadn’t remembered they sang that song.
I liked it, despite that it reminded me of you.

So what’s new?

I was lying on the front lawn because
I was sad. What’s wrong with that?

I’m a little older now. A little less prone
to jump on hoods,
to display the proof of my body.

I’ve covered myself in a fine layer
of don’t disturb me, I’m invisible fat.

And sadness
lays itself on the pages
of my poems.


Jennifer Suzanne Givhan is a Mexican-American poet who grew up in the Imperial Valley, a small, border community in the Southern California desert. Givhan earned her M.A. in English Literature at California State University Fullerton, where she was the recipient of the Graduate Equity Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in Verdad, Dash, Caesura, Mom Writer's Literary Magazine, Third Wednesday, Cutthroat, Pinyon, Earth's Daughters, Rockhurst Review, Palabra, Prick of the Spindle, and Mothering Magazine, and she was a 2010 recipient of the Emerging Voices Fellowship through PEN Center USA.
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