Born in Oahu, Hawaii, Babette Cieskowski has lived in South Florida, Kitzingen, Germany and Central Texas. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio where she earned her MFA in Poetry from The Ohio State University. She was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for 2020, and her poem “American Sonnet For My Medical History” won Puerto del Sol’s 2020 Poetry Contest, chosen by Rodney Gomez. Her poems have appeared in Compose, the minnesota review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Zone 3, Frontier Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, Prairie Schooner, Juked, among others.
And isn’t purity the goal? Though it isn’t
required to enter me. But when you do, be
calm, like the girl sewing violets into her chest
as she waits for a signal to bloom. Notice
the sleek ways she covers herself, the faint smell
of petals and rot, the time spent threading the memory
of cashmere, brown blood. You ask me of my origins,
that honey thickened glade. This is where I birth
my love: the blood on your sheets, the mud in your veins.