Thursday Poem

i ask them about birth

about splitting

inevitable tiny laugh
oh it’s not so bad
your body was built

for thiswe have mothered
for centuries. i gesture
to the line of women

behind me. my great
great grandmother
died giving light
my other great
great grandmother
gave light and lived
but not willingly
and that is death too
my other other
great great grandmother
drank (my grandfather
her son was the little boy
retrieving his sleeping mother
from the velvet kentucky
lounges) and my other
other other great great
grandmother i know nothing

of her. all i have
is a picture of a woman
seated, her hands braided
black hair meticulous
middle parted, a face
like medicine, a face
that says I have always been

i am this last woman’s namesake
estefania, meaning –  a crown
a garland. that which surrounds or
encircles. the first martyr

a man i love enters the poem
and asks me to put the picture away

she upends him
she upends me too

i tuck her into a tiny
corner of myself

by Estefania Stout Larios
The Rumpus, 5/27/21