My Mama's Spine Still Bending

By Elena Lipsiea

The spine I wear I inherited from my mother
Curved and long
Beneath the weight
we carry
For between each creviced vertebrae
Lie the abandoned
Our men left for us to take
Their emptiness
The greatest gravity
Pushing inward toward
Back bending hearts  

Hollow things take up the most strength 

And my sisters behind me are feeling
Their straight skyward spines
Inching nearer slants
Each day
As their men, our men, 
Drop pieces of back-handed broken
Girls almost women 

But my mama turns upward
From her triangular bent
Spine straining for her daughters
Bound up by boys
Calling themselves men

In a world hollow
And harrowing
She wears their emptiness like sunshine
Presses those hard-filled skeletal pieces
Into burning rays of her
And she tries
To prove her daughters won’t be
The kind to break