Ellen June Wright

The Desert Where I Am Lost

(after Audre Lorde)

I drag the corpse of the woman 
I wish were my mother around 
like a cast-iron ball and chain.

I hack away at the metal 
that is my heart 
trying to extricate myself.

Diahann Carroll is dead. 
Maya Angelou is dead.
Nina Simone is dead.

No one is coming to suckle me, 
rebirth me. I’m going to have to be 
my own mother.

Nurture and hold, 
love and coo myself 
into the woman I ought to be.

Audre Lorde is dead. 
She cannot mother me. 
She can only point the way.

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Ellen June Wright was born in Bedford, England but currently lives in New Jersey. Her poems have appeared in the Naugatuck River Review, New York Quarterly, Plume, Atlanta Review, Solstice, Tar River Poetry, Paterson Literary Review, Gordon Square Review, The South Carolina Review, Obsidian, Caribbean Writer and Tulsa Review. She is a Cave Canem and Hurston/Wright alumna. She received six Pushcart Prize nominations between 2021 and 2022. When she is not writing, she enjoys crocheting, swimming and watching British crime dramas. You may follow her on Twitter and on Instagram @EllenJuneWrites