Spring 2017

Edited by Barry Kitterman | Andrea Spofford | Amy Wright


​Multiverse as Einstein’s Single Mama

Jennifer Givhan​

In one brightly lit desert

Mama rebirthed Albert

& affectionately called him Bertie.


She taught him to dance cumbias

but never to catch

butterflies on their way


to Mexico neither for beauty

nor study.


He never learned

the violin & always

combed his hair.


Like me, he never had a father who never

brought home compasses

or clock parts


& we couldn’t let him

wander the barrio



               A child should know

at least one main dish so


Mama taught him to cook arroz con pollo

to pluck & scrub the dead bird with salt

to add one bay leaf


into the boiling red water

to bite a wooden spoon

to stop the tears of onions.


I wanted him to find

a cure for what

ailed us.


          There was never a bomb

he never accidentally

helped create.


The bomb went off.




Jennifer Givhan is the author of Landscape with Headless Mama (2015 Pleiades Editors’ Prize) and Protection Spell (2016 Miller Williams Series, University of Arkansas Press, forthcoming). Her honors include an NEA Fellowship, a PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellowship, The Frost Place Latin@ Scholarship, the 2015 Lascaux Review Poetry Prize, and The Pinch Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Best of the Net 2015, Best New Poets 2013, AGNI, Crazyhorse, Blackbird, and Kenyon Review. She is Poetry Editor at Tinderbox Poetry Journal and teaches at The Poetry Barn.

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