"What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want."

-Jazz, Toni Morrison


There is no home

There is no home

On a thread to break
my mother set scissors
to hang above my bed.
She crossed my crib
with burning papers,
and took salt rub
to my skin.

"There can be no home
while we live in fear
of the witches in our midst."

As such, my mother barbed
the hall with thorns,
growing a thicket through the house.

"Let them cross this
that would do us
harm - !"

Doused in smoke she smudged
her yellow eyes and blackened mouth,
talking in tongues
of the devil as she saw him
in trickery among the people
doing fouler things
than she knew to do
herself.

But it's her
when the witch comes
to press the children
to their beds
with threats of a spinning
wheel that stings;

my mother looms from the stars
greedy with a thousand threads
to stitch the lips anew
with praises overlaid
like silk.


Jennifer Wilson currently lives in Somerset, England, with her husband. Her prior publication is in Molotov Cocktail's 2018 Shadow Poetry Award.

Cover photo by MJ Tangonan on Unsplash

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