Researchers Find Mice Pass On Trauma to Subsequent Generations by Lisa Fay Coutley
Even before I was born, before my father
took my mother’s head in his hands,
her black curls like sprockets
sprung from his palms, & held her face
under the lukewarm water of our tub,
her belly a heavy globe—my only
armor—pressed against that bright white
porcelain, before I took my first breath
two months after my father failed
to cinch it, her, I mastered a palpable fear
of choking. It’s all a mind game, Dad
would say, shoving another M&M
in my mouth: swallow. Pseudodysphagia—
even before I learned the word I knew
the shame that came from fearing
fear rooted in the fiction of my mind—hers
& hers & hers & hers.
Lisa Fay Coutley is the author of Errata (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition, and In the Carnival of Breathing (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition. Her poems have been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sewanee Writer’s Conference, a scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and an Academy of American Poets Levis Prize. Poetry and prose publications include Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, & Poets & Writers. Her writing has been anthologized in Best New Poets & Best of the Net among many others. She has edited poetry for Passages North, Quarterly West, and Linebreak, and has taught at the University of Oregon, University of Utah, and Northern Michigan University. She is an Assistant Professor of Poetry in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Lit from the Basement is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com (this means as Amazon associates, we earn from qualifying purchases).