Bri Griffith

Young Barracuda

A little girl is born prematurely, somewhere in Pittsburgh, w/
baseball diamond-like head, cut from umbilical
cord, covered in “cheese,” ricotta
dipped baby. The father is fucking a woman named
Erin, she has cancer & tells him she’ll barrel roll over Niagara
Falls before ever doing a round of Chemo.
Go—the mother tells the father when he tries to
hold the girl for the first time.

I don’t love you anymore—how often do we say that & mean it?
Jesus, look at the time: 2:23 a.m. & the girl is
Kingsley, then Codi, then Brianne, then Luke, then Brianne again
like some kind of casino slot machine. Look at the woman,
mother, she’s smiling but knows it will be hard:
newborn, alone, two-year-old at home, she’ll sleep in the
open guest room until divorce, she’ll
pop back & forth between kid 1 & kid 2,
queen sized bed big enough for all of them,
right? She’ll work the night shift &
shout out her car window every ride home:

Take me out! Who’s she talking to? She’ll fantasize about rolling
under the bed & never moving again. She’ll spit
venom at the father, Fuck. Are all families failures
with cherries on top? Look at the girl, Brianne,
xerox copy of the mother at birth. She’s a
young barracuda—somewhere in Pittsburgh, she’ll
zip through the streets—she’ll grow into her teeth.

Bri Griffith earned her MFA in poetry from Florida International University in 2021. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Columbia Poetry ReviewSmall OrangePittsburgh Poetry JournalCourt Green, and elsewhere. She was a Best New Poets nominee in 2021. Griffith is a writing instructor at University of Pittsburgh and Community College of Allegheny County; she’s a proud member of the Madwomen in the Attic.

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