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Since 1996 Volume XXI

Jan Beatty

Jan Beattyís book, The Switching/Yard, was named by Library Journal as one of ...30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry. The Huffington Post called her one of ten ďadvanced women poets for required reading.Ē Books include Red Sugar, Boneshaker, and Mad River, published by University of Pittsburgh Press.


  My Mother Was a Dress 

For years I was wearing her,

she was cotton, her neck a blue V

for her blue vagina that birthed 6 babies.

She had a vanilla string around

her waist even though she was hooker-red

at heart, like me.


I wore her for two years, along with

a sister dress of deep cherry.

When I went to meet her the first time

at Catholic Social Services, I wore the cherry

and she wore the blue vagina.


We thought that genetics had made us

go to Joseph P. Hornes to buy the V,

but decided we both lived

near the bloodless dept. store.

After that, I took her off,

stopped wearing her,

didnít want her touching

my body anymore.


I prefer to think itís all animaló

the way the V opens my neck to predators,

the way she scissored her legs open

to my fatherís cock.

The way the dress hugs my hips

then falls,

just like she said she hugged me onceó

before falling away, switching

me out for sale.



The Switching/Yard, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013



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