Dear dome of impenetrable darkness—
It is only fair
I give you some glimpse of my own birth:
that was the year the Andean volcanoes
sent England magnificent weather:
tides blasting against the shore,
light dashed across the sky, the slant
of rain coming down like a puppet’s strings.
Mid-August, a comet smeared the inky heavens
for eleven clear nights. Weather
has bookended my time before you.
My father called this icy slash my lucky star,
my mother called me her animal—
but they made an animal out of her.
My little nourishment clung, the placenta
breaking apart as if a small planet, earthbound.
I tore at her teat as Heracles suckled Hera,
pooling a halo of milk, leaving the doctors
to only think, perhaps too much milk, sequestering me,
giving her twin pups to lap and nip at her breasts,
drawing away the only thing left of my mother.
Together, Molly Sutton Kiefer and Valerie Wetlaufer are at work on a collaborative epistolary project focusing on Mary Shelley and her unrealized female monster. Molly Sutton Kiefer is the author of the lyric essay Nestuary (Ricochet Editions, 2014) and two poetry chapbooks. She edits Tinderbox Poetry Journal and is publisher for Tinderbox Editions. More can be found at mollysuttonkiefer.com Valerie Wetlaufer is the author of Mysterious Acts by My People and Call Me by My Other Name (Sibling Rivalry Press). She is the editor of Adrienne: a poetry journal of queer women. She’s a professor at Kirkwood Community College. More can be found at valeriewetlaufer.com Work from this sequence is forthcoming in Up the Staircase Quarterly, Yellow Chair Review, and will appear as a broadside through Broadsided Press.