As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Jennifer Givhan – Poetry

Breath that moves on water / small boat, small rower

after Louise Erdrich


The carrier brings a dog-

eared Original

Fire to the door


instead of leaving it

in the mailbox

at the corner.


My old boxer girl

who doesn’t know she’s

dying of lung cancer


(the white tumors


her x-rays)



me to the porch,

barking at the knock.


Inside, bookmarked

at “The Ninth Month”

a black & white


four-photo strip

of a woman with her girl,

one scarved, the other not


bald, neither ready for

the first shot, smiling wide

then wider, till finally


mocking gravity

with frowns.

My lost ones,


if I can still praise you,

souls in water,

if nothing leaves


this plain earth, whether

clamped or locked

or unplanned,


then I opened once, too,

carrying a found boat of memory,

& rowed.


Jenn Givan HeadshotJennifer Givhan was a 2010 Pen Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow, as well as a 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award finalist and a 2012 Vernice Quebodeaux Pathways Poetry Prize finalist for her poetry collection. She attends the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College with a graduate fellowship, and has been accepted to attend the 2013 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Fiction. Nominated for the 2012 Best of the Net, Givhan’s work has appeared in over fifty literary journals, including DASH (in which her poem won the 2013 Poetry Prize), Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Rattle, and The Los Angeles Review. You can visit Givhan online at


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