Portlyn Houghton Harjo

Magic Grandmother and her Onion

after Hesiod’s Theogony 26-8

A root is a mother,
A mother is a portal,
A portal is an organ,
devoid of pleasure.

Through the portal,
Grandmother peered out
and said:

You are a mere belly in the world’s cow-body,
I am from the seventh belly of the seventh daughter.

Cut an onion in half,
and I can cure your warts.

Let me rub you down in onion skin,
Let me kiss you on the forehead,
Let me bear labored hands,
Let me wash you with a stolen rag,
Let me fill up the cookie jar,

and sit in the kitchen.

Portlyn Houghton Harjo is a Mvskoke and Seminole writer from the elusive state of Oklahoma. In April of 2022, she read with Joy Harjo (no relation) during the former Poet Laureate’s closing event at the Library of Congress. Her other work can be found in The Creative Field Guide to Northeastern Oklahoma and the zine I’ll Take You There. Harjo worships Bigfoot and the natural process of decay. She currently resides in Brooklyn.

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