Mary Leauna Christensen has lived in Southwest deserts, in kudzo infested Appalachia, and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with an overly dramatic cat. She has recently received her MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University, and is an assistant poetry editor of The Swamp Literary Magazine. Her work can be found in Cactus Heart, Permafrost, Driftwood Press, and the Avenue Journal.

Mary Leauna Christensen

Two Poems

I write about blood in two ways:

in the ancestral sense — kin and culture coagulating and in the fashion of animals — a red stain from a chicken’s gnawed neck. Until now I've avoided writing about my own blood and the way it was inside of me only seconds before it trickled down my leg, seeped through fibers of too-tight jeans. I yelled at him for packing a butcher knife in a plastic bag, a butcher knife for a submarine sandwich, the sandwich for a picnic hike. I laughed at the un-strangeness of all this, how the bag bumped against my leg as I walked uneven ground to a concrete table and bench, laughed at how the knife slid forward through bag, jeans, and knee, laughed at the dog who was excited to be out of the car. The dog danced between my feet, blending blood into her fur, her fur confetti-ed to my injured leg. She lapped of me, and maybe that makes us family. He pinched together the gash until the park ranger came, and maybe that makes him my god — setting things into motion, then making me believe he’s helping in the aftermath.


An old wives' dream interpretation states a barrel of fish foretells pregnancy — that of the dreamer or of a close relation. I wonder how many times my grandmother found a barrel mysteriously left on her front porch, and I wonder how many times heat bloated the wood — a smell rising from rotting chum. Maybe the dreams all ended the same, her leaving the fish, whole or not, on the porch steps — not sure what to do with them. Maybe it was easier to spread the fish and red water over a garden plot, fertilizing bougainvillea and household herbs, when the barrels couldn’t have been her own. My mother said that with each miscarriage her first symptom was a dragonfly hovering a little too long. In the Phoenix urban sprawl, the flicker of iridescent wings attracted to dreamt water isn't uncommon — the sun playing mirages on asphalt. There have been no dreams of barrels for awhile, but I've come home to find my partner has bought a fish tank — a blue light illuminating empty water.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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