Five Poems by Jennifer E. Hudgens

A Stain in the Shape of a Cigarette Burn

After Kim Yideum

Had my Mother known both of her daughters would be childless & queer/Would she have found the last wire hanger/Riverside, California/Put on her stiletto heels and Passion-Pink lipstick/& found another man to Step-Daddy her bastard son/Would I be some other Mother’s problem-child/Would the desperation in her wicked mouth be less obvious—

My oldest friend says/“Your Mother comes from a generation of women who wanted to become more than mortals, less than gods.”/In some small way Mother tries to play god/Needs possession/Control/Daughters who were thin & pretty/Who wore bells/& had sweet mouths/Not early-on tainted mouths/Not mouths like hers—

Some days my Mother says/“You never eat anything!”/Other days, when she is meat’d chicken breast/& high cholesterol/She calls me a pig/She used to be pencil thin/Invisible/ Now she won’t be seen without her “face”/I take up too much space/Mother wonders why he loves me/ Thinks{if I get any fatter}he will leave me/No note/No voice-mail/No Tweet

Buffalo, Gone.

Innovation—Delicate travel into the mouths of mice—Hands of mice-babes tremble while carrying cubes of sugar and salt—They want it all buried under tongues—Between pretty teeth of prom queens and cheerleaders—Mean girls pissing on their boyfriends—on their pom poms—Gothic kids break the sky light and scream expletives through the moon roof of a rickety Oldsmobile—Mama Moon doesn’t mind that kids are assholes—Kids create spells to pass quizzes—For different parents—They burn locks of hair from their unrequited—Boys offer free breast exams—They watched it in a movie once—The doctor says he prefers to give pap smears rather than check for prostate cancer—Mean girls drink La Croix and blame the punk kids for their woes—Not karma—Not vengeance—One spell to fatten the asses of mean girls and Neanderthal-ick football players—Nerds avoid twentieth high school reunion—

We all tend small scars

Broken windows cut Talia

Mean girls take the cake.

Quixotic Animal Noises

A tribe of Cicadas summer in quieted,

rustling oaks—

Paint a jagged ellipses on my throat,

semi-colon on the left wrist where

the {we don’t talk about it} uneven

line live{d}s—

Scar sits small,

runt-blue eyed barely feral kitten sleeps

wrapped in an old t-shirt—

I’m madly in love with his Father.

With how maternal I feel now,


small, milk-covered paws—

His palate/paws are crust’d,

my fingernails chipped pastel pink,

my mouth trembles—

Is this very natural in how succinct it all is.

How We Met With Our Ghosts

After Kim Yideum

I billowed out—a cat puking

fur ball onto shitty tan-ish carpet.

I could not stop from exclaiming

I talk to my dead Father! He’s in a cardboard box

on the dresser.

He’s where we leave our desperation.

He’s where we leave or grief & hang our shame.

The cat still over-eats

& yowl-alarms the household—

old blind dog runs into every dark room

& slurps down cat yowls—

sad chugs of esophagus—

the gross-out of every small mouth—

every gag reflex.

I swear it; I’m a sympathetic puker.

As though any of these people care

about the who/what I am.

They think I’m fatty meat—

I take up space/desire to be someone wanted.

They stop listening.

I think these lines lack originality—

A pretty box to keep oils & herbal remedies in—

to keep my witch-self tucked away.

I’m the pathetic regurgitation of

too many love-gone-wrongs.

My dead Father is waiting for me

to make tea with his remains.

His laugh echoes in dreams—

Haunts me like the childhood

that’s been ripped from me.

What if I’m the ghost & the cat & the yowl & the shame?

What if he stops answering me

in yellow butterflies—In stopped time.


Magic means no more bloody mornings—No more accidental nobody’s—As though some wand was waved—Body broken down to crone body—Frail bones body—Maternal instincts are lost on my body—‘Cept these kittens—Palm-sized—Needful things—They suckl’d at a plastic nipple too long to make much sense—Purr-sleep—Drool’d deep like the pond in my uterus—Empty’d—Rattled—If you threw a penny down my throat—Or into my cunt—You might could hear the ocean—Or my intestines giving a longing sigh—But Mother’n was never in the play’n cards—Maybe the Joker—Fool—Or Queen of Spades—Her eyes look gap-tooth’d anyway—Anyway, I bet she’d been a good Mother if you asked her to—Nobody asked me to—All I can hear is mewling—Tongues on small fur bodies—Every car that drove down 50th—

Electric was out

Ammonia pantomim’d love

I took my shirt off.

Jennifer E. Hudgens, born and raised Okie, has been published in online and print journals, with work forthcoming in FIVE2ONE, Thoughtcrime Press, and Glass. Jennifer’s chapbook Paloma, is going to be released winter 2017 through Blood Pudding Press.

Jennifer is constantly striving to be a better human and poet.

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