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Origin Stories

He built a greenhouse:
clear walls, cathedral ceiling.
He smoked pipes
and talked peppers,
red peppers.

He looked at my mother
in yellow polyester shorts,
her pink skin hot
and long below them,
covered in aloe.

One day, some kids
stole the pampas grass.
My mother chased them
down the street.
Pregnant, out of breath,

she saw the Scott & White,
the hospital on the far hill.
She saw it plain,
clean and forbidding,
and held her belly.

After labor, as always,
he washed his hands
and wondered
about the dark star
on my red head.

Not two weeks later,
while she rocked me,
my father used his hands
to pull a nevus pepper
off its hot bush.

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Author:
Jennifer Strange :
Jennifer Strange’s work has appeared in the Oxford American, Christianity and Literature, Rock and Sling, The Southern Poetry Anthology, and the Art House America blog, where she serves as assistant editor. She has a husband and, because of their three sons, has recently acquired expertise in how to manage a carpool lane.
  • Joe

    hot stuff. love those compact little stanzas.