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.

To learn more about Lisa Fey Coutley go to her author website by clicking here.

This poem comes from Errata (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry).

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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 ReviewCrazyhorse, & Poets & Writers. Her writing has been anthologized in Best New Poets & Best of the Net among many others. She has edited poetry for Passages NorthQuarterly 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.

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