New Ohio Review features poem from Lisa Krueger’s forthcoming collection, FLORIOGRAPHY CHILD!

History of Desire


In the photograph
my mother is ten;
she poses in a ruffled dress
and hand-me-down coat
that swallows her arms
the way shame swallows
people whole.

Lost in the oversize. Standing
near a clapboard porch.
She knows she is poor,
one of the poorest; her shoes
are too tight. Other children
tease her about the key
around her neck.

My mother makes drawings
of what she can’t buy;
it will take years, and
thousands of dollars,
for her to learn that money
does not make her happy.

In the photo, my mother smiles
upward like the glamorous people
in magazines. She tapes sketches
of stars to her wall, studies them
before she falls asleep.