Crustacean Lullaby

Jasmine Pierce


Mama made our nest in a woven silk sheet. She plucked

those bleached blonde hairs from her scalp and carefully

wove a cradle with stone crab claws.

Mama said


“There are two stars fastened to my hip.

The eldest: my hot headed ram.

And the youngest: my silent swimming fish.”


Mama never wanted to have a third child; despite

positive test results. Salt water tears filled

the back patio where she continued to smoke.

Mama was never meant to marry. Her mama did, and she

never left the country.


Mama made sure she had what she needed.

Mama made her nest in

dish detergent, plastic plates and Abilify.

Mama’s made up of that beautiful pain;

the one you know you saw when she was living at the hospital.


Frail hairs made for a scratchy cradle; splitting

And all curled up.

After her third baby came, Mama burrowed deeper

down into warm sand; all stitched up and swollen.

Sister ran oatmeal baths and warmed

up vaseline between palms; rubbing down infant

skin before dreams came.


Somewhere, between dreams, there is a song.





My name is Jasmine Pierce. My pronouns are she and her. I reside in Southeast Portland. I am a student at PCC. My recent poetry has been filled with themes of astrology and domesticity. My favorite poetry book at the moment is Fruit Geode by Alicia Jo Rabins.