Gaia Talks Back

You levitate with guilt
because you ironed a man’s collars
in place of his mother.

Pressed yourself into a neat pleat,
removing the septum ring, growing
out the side shave at his demand.

So concerned with how you’ve damaged
your daughter by what she has seen.
You want to talk about epigenetics?

The compulsion to singe a hot iron
into the back of your own hand
was not born in you, darling.

Your great grandmother
laundered her husband’s shirts,
paired her children’s tiny socks,

before hanging herself
from the mantel, limbs stiff
as starched linen.


Carson Wolfe is a Mancunian poet. In 2021, they were an Aurora prize winner and a Button video contest winner. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming with Fourteen Poems, Rattle, The Penn Review, and Button Poetry.