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  • My Imperfect Mouth Names
  • Alena Hairston (bio)


Motherlessness is imprecise, its cuttingleaves no patternin the stillbornrejectionof ordered despair.


I move my mouthto make good words.

No one talks to mewith flowers in her teeth.

I am quiet.


Touch my thighs,sciatic swell, your hips,round in the wrongplaces, I kneadthem, night after day after nightmareday drown dreamsof lateshows, infomercials, lye-freehairdos, makeover skinteen,hollow, hollywood, halloween,glossy hologram, each, advertisementfor the next new old need. [End Page 72]


My imperfect mouth namesyour perfect cities:Massawa; Mendeferi; Keren; Asmara; Adi Quala.Your rich places; my poor speech.


A map of your countryis shield protecting the one of mefrom the all of history.


He rode all the accessroutes on the detoursof your body. [End Page 73]

Alena Hairston

Alena Hairston, who lives in Oakland, California, is currently studying for the PhD degree in psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco. She received the MFA in English and creative writing from Brown University, where she won the John Hawkes Memorial Prize for Fiction. The Logan Topographies, her first volume of poems, was a selected winner for Bear Star Press's Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Award and a publication selection for CavanKerry Press. The collection was published by Persea Books, which awarded it the Lexi Rudnitsky Memorial Prize for Poetry. She is an instructor of English at Solano College in Fairfield, California.



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pp. 72-73
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