Harley Anastasia Chapman holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in English with a focus on women and gender studies from Illinois State University. In 2019 she was awarded the Allen and Lynn Turner commencement poetry prize. Her work can be found in Bridge Eight Press, Euphemism, Soundings East, and Columbia Poetry Review, among others.
Mondays require a visible limp.
It seems, anymore, visibility
is enough. We wear illness
embroidered on our hats. At times
I think I am going to die of this,
grief attached to my intestine.
Each end blossoms so stubbornly,
a dandelion spliced in cement.
The lapis on my wrist is said
to protect against evil, eyes braced
like hands. Mom always spoke
our family cursed, & me to break it
requires intention. But hard work
never saved my grandparents,
my sister. Mom keeps going,
another weed. Somewhere my father
wears my face & I see him
gather in froth upon the lake.
If it was as simple as not eating
I would have starved a cure.
But the organs chew, a vein collapses,
two aneurysms form in her head
as pipe bomb. There are too many
ways to break a heart. I stir cinnamon
three ways clockwise & imagine
a life untethered to disease.
Mom says cut your hair, it’s looking
ragged. I have no language to explain
why I keep these split things close to me.