chain reaction


How many daughters use weather talk
      as metaphor, meaning

Mom, it's raining hard, and cold
      translates to

I woke up, cold, with a hard
      man inside of me

            I didn't want there.
      Wells dry, I stayed

            quiet, more like snow
      than rain, really.

How many daughters keep such stories
      just below

the surface like fish, restless
      beneath thin ice.

            How many mothers wish their daughters
      hadn't learned to stop demanding what they want

            and don't want.
      No matter. The fish, more like

            shame—impossible to count
      those slippery shadow darts, hiding

in the heat of tangled reeds
      impossible to account for love

the way it tangles self and origin,
      broken daughter trying to protect

the one who split for her.

Jessica Lee is a waitress and an Assistant Editor for Narrative Magazine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Literary Review, Barrelhouse Blog, BOAAT, The Boiler, cream city review, DIAGRAM, phoebe, and elsewhere. She was a finalist for the 2017 So to Speak Poetry Contest and the 2017 Greg Grummer Poetry award. She graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in creative writing and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest. Find her online at