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Rabbit Hole -after Jenn Givhan

by Serena Rodriguez


I look up how to soften. My search teaches me:
How to soften brown sugar quickly
how to soften brown sugar in 20 seconds
how to soften hard brown sugar
how to soften butter 5 easy ways
how to soften brown sugar in a hurry, girl
how to be a girl, girl
how to lower your voice, girl
how to lower your expectations, girl
how to less often and less quiet, girl
how to smile and nod, forgotten girl
how to doormat. girl.

Do you ever wish:

Your mouth spilled spring water.
An intentional melting nourishment
only when the forest is still,
is shaking winter from its bones.
We climb the roof of home,
blanket wrapped around a cluster
of stars in the December sky. We scream
beneath the moon. How we want
to be the good daughter,
the one uncast into the dark.
Stars twinkle to the rhythm
of the ram. Blanket falls
to rock ground and we are left
naked and drunk and loud
and there is nothing soft
about this body except maybe
the fat on our thighs, rolls
of this belly, where we curl into
and hold our selves, and never
let go of us, girl.


Serena Rodriguez’s work has been published in Inverted Syntax, Poetry, Santa Fe Literary Review, MindWell Poetry, was the winner of the Santa Fe Accolades Poetry Contest 2017 and The Roadrunner Review Poetry Prize 2022 and was a 2020 Loraine Williams Poetry Prize finalist for The Georgia Review. She graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts with her MFA in Creative Writing in May 2022. Serena works as a Creative Writing Visiting Professor at IAIA. Born in Mississippi, she lives in New Mexico with her partner and kiddo, where they hike the Bosque and eat all the tacos.


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