Jessica Covil: a poem



My Mother Is a Double Entendre


Her messages are

not always spiteful.

So much of the time

they bolster me, uplift me

in all their exaggeration.

If I were all that she says I am,

the rest of the world would be

shit out of luck.

But this is her:

speaking on my behalf

and over me, in turns.


Of course, speaking over somebody

is what some people call

prayer.

Like the word of God, living

and sharp,

she is my heartache.

My biggest fan,

who knows where I would be without her?

Because of

or in reaction to –

who can tell the difference?

What I know is this:

she has always been there,

speaking impossible things

into existence.



Jessica Covil is a PhD Candidate in English at Duke, where she is also pursuing graduate certificates in African & African American Studies and Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies. Broadly, her poems explore family, sisterhood, trauma, hope, sex, and politics. Her work has recently appeared in SWWIM Every Day, What Rough Beast, Whale Road Review, Rise Up Review, and The Maynard.