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Juliet P. Howard

Website
Years: 2007, 2008, 2009

Biography

Juliet P. Howard (JP Howard) is a poet, lawyer, Cave Canem fellow and native New Yorker. She has been selected as a Lambda Literary Foundation 2011 Emerging LGBT Voices Fellow, as well as a 2011 Cave Canem Fellow-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA). JP was a finalist in the Astraea Lesbian Writer’s Fund 2009-2010 poetry category and recipient of a Soul Mountain Retreat writing residency in 2010. Her poems are published or forthcoming in The Mom Egg 2012, Vol.10, Muzzle Magazine, Connotation Press, TORCH, Queer Convention: A Chapbook of Fierce, Cave Canem Anthology XII: Poems 2008-2009, Cave Canem XI 2007 Anthology, The Portable Lower East Side (Queer City), Promethean Literary Journal and Poetry in Performance. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The City College of New York, as well as a BA from Barnard College and a JD from Brooklyn Law School. She recently co-founded Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon and Blog, a forum offering women writers at all levels a venue to come together in a positive and critically supportive space. 

Poem

Still Life

A Portrait of Ida Mae Johnson

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I’m his first born free child.

Papa’s favorite. Never knew mama.

 

Red poppies on each corner of her quilt won’t let me forget.

Mama’s last breath was my first.

 

 We left the south cause Papa

wanted more for his family up here in Iowa.

 

Papa’s lungs coughed blue black red powder

That’s how all the railroad builders died in Council Bluffs

 

Motherless. Now fatherless.

Seamstress by trade. Scared of this child growing growing in my belly.

 

I am not comfortable in skin.

So I wrap this quilt around old bones.

 

Each day since papa died

I have sewn a new patch.

 

Use scraps of papa’s worn kerchief

deep yellow gone pale to warm the room.

 

Today I won’t let the camera catch me.

Remember: Papa said I was his prettiest.

 

Papa, I’ll tell that to my baby and

wrap my child in mama’s quilt.

 

© Juliet P. Howard / 2011