Miosette Tejeda

Outreached

1. Mother and baby’s first touch: icy
fingertips dance across baby’s tummy
then poke all over until giggles erupt.
Baby will soon become familiar with
missed meals. Five breathing bodies, now,
and Mother is still too headstrong. Asking
for help feels like giving up.

         2. Family lives in rustic home: modest, with
         shattered windows, weathered cribs, and
         faulty power lines. Long forgotten is the
         sound of a phone’s ring. But the babies stay
         polished, even if it means water is used for
         nothing else. 

                   3. After dark, they feast on Mother’s stories
                   by the candlelight. Later, Mother cries of
                   guilt, staring down at her shaky hands,
                   wishing she had known better. In her veins lie
                   years of bad circumstances; her blood does
                   not understand glory. It only speaks the
                   language of the broken. When her home
                   turned to a prison it did not feel temporary.

                             4. The babies become hollow when light lifts
                             the shadows away. It gets easier to ignore the
                             rumbling. Mother’s bed is intact in the
                             morning, as if she had not been there, or if so,
                             she had not slept. The babies play despite
                             brittle limbs; the five pairs of glassy eyes,
                             vulnerable and dismayed. Mother laments her
                             somber welcomings.


THE INFANT HERAKLES STRANGLING SNAKES: MARBLE, IMPERIAL PERIOD, AD 140-190

at first I am unsure/is this oxblood
or my own?/when danger slithered in
my guard fell through/as it made my wrinkles
cross-hatched/my eyes deep-set and brooding/it molded me
into its own/but disregarded the chains I wear snug
the pleas I wear like a sweater/tongue I wear
like my mother/and maybe that’s what caused this/

                    at first I drank your poison/then haziness
                    set in/now teach me to sever ties/to unlearn
                    the bites and bitterness/to unravel
                    this snake/twice-wrapped around
                    my limbs/why were you taught to
                    steal/what warmth you crave?


Miosette Tejeda is a first-year Marine Science major at Boston University. She was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts under the roof of notoriously fast-speaking Dominican parents. Like Ron Swanson, she enjoys breakfast foods. Unlike Ron Swanson, she is a fan of small dogs.