Perhaps these poems aren’t political in the way we think of when we look at cable TV news. But they are about identity and consciousness and are responding to cultural norms and expectations—all of which have to do with being aware of and improving the status and lives of others, which is one definition of “politics.”  

Betsy Sholl, MAJ Poetry Editor



we cracked Bazooka Bubble Gum                          

rolled our plaid skirts shorter

&  ignored the nuns

who prayed hard for us

we    too-fat     too-thin



we asking-for-it  




with wanting

               too cool     

to be force-married like girls

in Idaho or India.

no one could out-power

us           we thought                 

not stepfathers   

or uncles    not shady

trench-coat men.

if we were going under

                            the knife

of male eyes    we’d call

the shots

              our bodies

like ponies  all leg

& mane


awkward     we knew

everyone loved us

everyone was betting on us

              to win.





Henry Moore, The Three Fates

woman as verb

after Telaraña (spider web)four paintings by Ana Teresa Fernández


a woman wearing high heels

hangs sheets four times.

the wet cotton

traps her body   her face  

four times


              she spiders

her own tale  

like Spider Grandmother

& little Arachne  

like the three Fates


my own grandmother 

& her daughters

wearing sensible shoes

& lipstick 

lean over the quilt

they are making.

              I want them

to remake the world

with thread   

as spider weaves porch corners

& attics.

              tangled web

we say for deceit

as though survival is


              the sheets

spill skeins of light  

each one a verb—

like quilt or web.

              to spider means

to weave. grandmother is both

tell-a-story & make-do. girl

is smile & don’t be caught  

woman—speak & don’t

be silenced.

Jeri Theriault’s poetry collections include Radost, my red (Moon Pie Press) and the award-winning In the Museum of Surrender (Encircle Publications). Her poems and reviews have appeared in many journals, and she won the 2019 Maine Literary Award for poetry (short works). She is a Fulbright recipient and her teaching career included six years as the English Department chair at the International School of Prague.

Image at top: Dorrie Rifkin, Bazooka Bubble Gum