SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Midlife Crisis by Mia Leonin

Just like that a barge drifted from my throat, listing 

from icy Nordic waters to the warm Mississippi Delta. 

 

Just like that I shook the moon from its claw 

and realized funnel cake magic was just powdered sugar. 

 

Just like that a concussion became a memory of betrayal, a pack 

toted off on the missing hump of a camel. 

 

Just like that I made peace with heaven 

and whether or not I was going to be invited to the after party. 

 

Just like that I traded in my many dresses for one 

then crawled out of that one and got on with my day. 

 

Just like that my dad – well, yeah, him. 

 

Just like that my mother’s pointer finger 

landed on Mars and transmitted satellite info 

 

from the worm in her bosom  

to the flower in my breast 

 

from the yowl of her silence 

to the om of my omniscience 

 

from her sidewinding 

to my stomping through 

 

from her branding and rebranding our life 

to my five-word review: Lunch. Table. Eat. Starve. Repeat. 

 

from her stomped blossoms and overburdened nightgowns 

to my room with a slit of mirror and salty lamp light. 

 

Just like that, mom came and went. 

When she touched me, she made no touches show 

 

and when she put on her face, a show for the millions, 

the laugh track guffawed at full force slobbering vodka to gin. 

 

Just like that, God doles out her punishment 

in the form of unfettered happiness 

 

and we are forced to build a stronger fort 

or ram our pole into the mud and push off 

 

from the creek’s sandy bank 

toward a farther, glittering shore.


Mia Leonin is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Chance Born (Anhinga Press), and a memoir, Havana and Other Missing Fathers (University of Arizona Press). A book-length poem, Fable of the Pack Saddle Child, will be published by BkMk Press in 2018 with illustrations by Cuban artist, Nereida García Ferraz. Leonin has written extensively about theater and culture for the Miami Herald, New Times, and other publications. She teaches creative writing at the University of Miami.

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