[I can’t see her clearly. Can you see your mother clearly? I was concocted]

Diane Seuss

I can't see her clearly. Can you see your mother clearly? I was concoctedin the kettle of her body. Swam like a swan in a pool of her blood. From myearliest days I called her by her name—Norma. But inside, always mommy.I called out to her, even when I was far from home. In High Wycombe, peelingpeaches for dinner. Not like that, a stern woman said, telling me to slip the knifejust under the skin and pull it away from the flesh. Peeing outside the HellfireCaves on Midsummer Night. In Scotland, sleeping in a tent on the cold ground.So far north the sky never got dark. Arrested in Germany for stealing a mug.Man wearing lederhosen barking at me. Veins in his face ready to explode. Forcedto eat that awful white sausage the color of an underbelly. Bad strawberries. Shittingmyself on the train from Segovia. Giving birth, cut through the gut, the layer of fatand uterus exposed to the cold room and its attendants. And now in my solitudewhich matches her solitude like mother-daughter dresses she'd disdain. Do you seehow I persist in telling you about the flowers when I mean to describe the rain?

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Diane Seuss’s most recent collection, Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, (Graywolf Press, 2018) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry and the Los Angeles Book Prize in Poetry. Four-Legged Girl, published in 2015 by Graywolf Press, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open won the Juniper Prize and was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2010. A fifth collection, Frank: Sonnets, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2021. Seuss was raised in rural Michigan, which she continues to call home.

42.1 (Spring 2019): “Collisions”

Columbia, Missouri

University of Missouri

 Speer Morgan

Managing Editor
Marc McKee

Associate Editor
Evelyn Somers

Poetry Editor
Jennifer McCauley

The Missouri Review, founded in 1978, is one of the most highly-regarded literary magazines in the United States and for the past thirty-four years we’ve upheld a reputation for finding and publishing the very best writers first. We are based at the University of Missouri and publish four issues each year. Each issue contains approximately five new stories, three new poetry features, and two essays, all of which is selected from unsolicited submissions sent from writers throughout the world.

New, emerging, and mid-career writers whose work has been published in The Missouri Review have been anthologized over 100 times in Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Poetry, The O. Henry Prize Anthology, and The Pushcart Prize. We are also pleased to be the first to have published the fiction of many emerging writers, including Katie Chase, Nathan Hogan, Jennie Lin, Susan Ford, and Elisabeth Fairchild.

The Missouri Review is, quite simply, one of the best literary journals in the world.”
—Robert Olen Butler

“I’ve admired The Missouri Review for years. . . . It’s one of a half-dozen literary magazines I always read.”
—Joyce Carol Oates

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