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/anna sverclova

mottle : verb

to mark with spots or smears of color use it in a sentence– the cow’s red coat mottled in white the photo album in my sister’s closet– page 1: my face before I can even remember being alive mottled crimson by a myth the mottled girl is a family secret white like milk and glistening in the sun a star shaped gash a carving everyone wants gone my mothers fingers in the scar cream once, a girl I knew put her finger in the dent like she could solve the puzzle by touching it the right side of my face tilts to the earth like it’s watching cover for me while I look the other way sometimes in the mirror I cover it with my hand to see what I might have become in another life where a tooth or a woodchip or a screwdriver never met the child’s face screaming bleeding into her mouth from her eye if there had been stitches or a band aid or anyone watching when the girl cried until it scabbed and there was nothing anyone could do (which was the only thing they ever did) the myth was a dog or a low countertop I ran into, repeatedly in one universe, I somehow didn’t feel the pain gouged the medallion right out half-conscious in the other world, the dog was off its leash either way it is a blameless injury but still, in photographs, I am turned some part of me bearing the shame of my own neglect embedded in me turning me over 90 degrees over and over until my whole body knocks sideways mottled by the shadow

best practices

I tell myself I am leaving & it is the smoke climbing headfirst out the window the first time in a tent grass rolled in a page of the bible

we swore we’d breathe

the whole campsite through our bodies

filter the ground up from our mouths I learned to grow

up between my own teeth & fingers

hold and light small fires into myself

I am building myself like a tree : gathering myself from the soot in the air

Anna Šverclová is the totally queer poet, director & organizer of Macalester College’s slam poetry team, MacSlams. They were born and raised in the Twin Cities suburbs and they cry whenever it snows. Over the years, they have become an expert in layering. Their secret? A journal compliments every outfit. Their poetry discusses sexual assault, generational trauma, and redneck fuckery. Their work has been featured in Macalester’s Chanter and The Rising Phoenix Press, and more is forthcoming in Storm of Blue, The River Styx, and Passages North. More about Anna can be found at

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