Sarah Keturah Hagar: a coven By AJ Wolff 

Sarah Keturah Hagar: a coven

I name my son smile
after a woman
who laughed at god,
or rather, laughed
probably, at a man
talking to himself
wine-soaked
self-important
in the desert
sky slurring stars/sand,
or rather—laughed, probably
at the power
(her round fingers
caged at a trachea)
to invent voices
of himself
pluming constellations
she could simply
unfurl by simp-
lifying herbal
plans
pomegranate tonics,
silphium soaks,
breaking apart
a circle.
Laughing
as she held prophecy
in her own palms
&conceded.

Smile
I name my son
after every man
I wouldn’t treat
as fuckable,
&every godly anger
bull-red in an alley,
&every skirt
&every stranger
&their judgment
underneath me
like a prison bed.
I wasn’t tired
anyway
concrete &my knees
are old
acquaintances.
Smile
I break up
juniper thistles
brew, ferment, &bottle
my own voice.
Pot of thunder.

I smile at feet
&everyone
that cuts me
off, these days
I smile bark
and blade,
the charlie horse
of a wrist at work
cutting myself
wide and thick.
I smile crazy
wild abandon
in a poppy field
of lovers I’ve left
behind, again,
chanting grow
&when the bees come,
let them in.
My fingers constellate
a ribcage;
my sisters
a whisper
from a desert
I don’t know.

I name my son
the way some man
was told he could
name everything
he touched.
I name my son
&re-name myself.
That one
bright star
that one
rock altar
as a man
tried to wage
his god against
a coven. A chorus
that booms
from earth
itself—not about it.
A man is blade
to his own blood.
A man will kill
everything
to live.
I name my son
smile
after the fire
man never lit
&the flowers
my hands
bloom violently
across him.

By AJ Wolff 

Biography:

AJ Wolff is a queer single mother, feminist, poet (she/her/hers). Her work is published or forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Yes Poetry, Hypertrophic Literary Magazine, Riggwelter, and other generous presses. A River is Never Broken deeply examines questions of agency, (dis)connection, power, oppression, and resilience.

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