on estrangement

Once my mother broke her foot. It was a juice tin. She was carrying a tin of juice up the stairs in the first house I could remember, with the pale blue carpet. I stood watching as she keeled over, juice purpling up the split-level grout. In the weeks of crutches she pointed to things on the ground and we would hand them to her. I liked this game. A matryoshka, mommy’s arms. During my younger sister’s deliver, my mother hemorrhaged and clotted and blackened a piece of her lung. She showed us the contours on her belly, the skin like a rug hung over a balcony. This is where mommy got stapled back together, she said. This is how mommy almost went away. She had been gone for a month. I was scared to touch her. I handed her remotes, socks, books. My father is not in these experiences, therefore he makes no impression on memory. Even then he was a windmill.


grace (ge) gilbert is a hybrid writer based in Pittsburgh. they received their MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2022, where they now serve as a Visiting Lecturer. they are the author of 3 chapbooks: the closeted diaries: essays (Porkbelly Press 2022), NOTIFICATIONS IN THE DARK (Antenna Books 2023), and today is an unholy suite (forthcoming; Barrelhouse 2023). their work can be found in 2023’s Best of the Net Anthology, the Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, the Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. They teach hybrid collage and poetics courses at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and they are a 2023 Visiting Teaching Artist at the Poetry Foundation. they are passionate about making the hybrid arts accessible to all. find course offerings and more at gracegegilbert.com