Genevieve Kersten

We Live Here Now

His gentle bird presence breaks with a squawking laugh.
I’m curled up in an egg shell on the floor for the rest of my life.
I tell him, this is where we’ll raze our children —  ­
those filthy little books collecting dust on the re-shelving cart
way in the back stacks of our forties,
malnourished little wretches that didn’t get enough corn and sunlight.

He crouches down low,
taps the shell,
could be sturdier, he says.
Tell me the joke again, the one that made you cry.
It was about the woman who turns into Humpty Dumpty
after demanding to know why the idiot
climbed up there in the first place.


Labor Day

My children are all the bees in September.
The family resemblance is uncanny

crooked nose, venomous ass,
distracted eyes, distinctly panicked flight.

They buzz around the yard.
I watch and worry.

If I catch them in a jar with pierced air holes,
I can keep my babies safe forever.

Forever is until they die a sterile death.
It’s what any mother would do.

They would rather get trapped between
a screen and storm window.

Their purpose is service to the queen.
Am I not royalty?


Welcome to Nether Netherlands

There will be few likable characters.
This production pays homage to folklore and fairytale.
Everyone will make poor choices, then die.

The lead, a tulip fooled by the first bee she meets.
He neglects to inform the bloom of his sovereign,
pockets bits of her body to present to his queen, true honey.

Too late, the dimwitted flower discovers
her love’s real motivations:
harvesting her organs for another.

Her petals wilt.
She seeks solace in a genteel death,
but even here she is mistaken.

Caught under the tread of a wooden shoe,
her body is clomped to oblivion.
She sees rows of dull faces. So many rows.

With taste of willow sap and dirt in her mouth
she tries to tell the others their only function is brevity
but the buzzing of the bees drowns her voice.



Genevieve Kersten is a poet, editor, and professional semi-finalist. Her poetry has appeared in 8 Poems JournalThe Feckless Cunt AnthologyAwkward Mermaids, Helen: A Literary Magazine, and Here Comes Everyone. She is co-editor at Okay Donkey. Find her on Twitter @genekresten and @okaydonkeymag.