The Clinic Bomber’s Mother

The trick, she guesses, is: be seen. Offer
coffee to police, walk among the living
without thinking of the dead. Never

apologize for being his mother. Keep
his photos on the mantel, his boyhood
room the same. Bring daisies to his plot,

ignore the other graves. Who really knows
who knows. She donates blood, is comforted
that strangers wear his clothes, irons

linens for St. Paul’s, whose confessionals
have never felt so cramped. Bless me, Father,
she admits, the bathroom hook still holds

his robe. There’s little time to think or rest.
More and more, the wafer tastes like flesh.

by Shara Lessley

The Poetry Centre is delighted to say that this week’s poet, Shara Lessley, will be reading from her work in Oxford this Thursday 22 March, when she will be launching her new collection The Explosive Expert’s Wife. Shara will be reading with Yvonne Reddick, whose work we featured last week and will be reading from her award-winning pamphlet Translating Mountains. Join us for what will be a terrific evening – from 7-9pm at the Society Café. Find more details on our website. Yvonne will also be discussing her academic research about Ted Hughes earlier in the day at Oxford Brookes – contact us for more details.

Have you seen our new ignitionpress pamphlets yet? We have another launch event at the Oxford Literary Festival this Sunday 25 March. To get a taste of what’s in store, watch videos of the poets: Lily Blacksell, Mary Jean Chan, and Patrick James Errington, on our ignitionpress pages, and buy the pamphlets here!

‘The Clinic Bomber’s Mother’ is excerpted from The Explosive Expert’s Wife by Shara Lessley. Reprinted by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. © 2018 by Shara Lessley. All rights reserved. The poem was originally published in 32 Poems, 13.2 (Fall/Winter 2015).

‘Somewhere in the Middle / East, you sip coffee while I sleep…’ In sparse, powerful lines, Shara Lessley recalls an expat’s displacement, examines her experience as a mother, and offers intimate witness to the unfolding of the Arab Spring in her new collection, The Explosive Expert’sWife. Veering from the strip malls and situation rooms of Washington to the markets and mines of Amman, Lessley confronts the pressures and pleasures of other cultures, exploring our common humanity with all its aggressions, loves, biases, and contradictions. You can read more about Shara’s book on the publisher’s website.

Shara Lessley is a writer and teacher. The author of Two-Headed Nightingale and The Explosive Expert’s Wife, and co-editor of The Poem’s Country: Place & Poetic Practice, she is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Shara’s poems and essays have appeared in PloughsharesThe Kenyon ReviewThreepenny ReviewThe Southern ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewMissouri Review, and New England Review, among others. A recipient of scholarships from ArtsBridge and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Shara holds Bachelor’s degrees in Dance and English from University of California, Irvine, and an MFA in Poetry from University of Maryland. She was recently awarded Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Oxford. Find out more about Shara’s work on her website, and follow her on Twitter.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.