your mother. or father.
that cigarette
in your mouth. bad genes.
a poor upbringing.
bad spelling or bad breath.
Catholics or science or that
second pitcher of Bud Light.
your inability to keep your
legs closed. your inability
to keep your eyes open.
your crooked teeth or pale
skin. your hair or his fist.
your ex's 98 Honda Civic.
your best friend
from middle school. that night
(you know the one) or maybe
that other night. any night.
any Monday. any stray
black cat. any bad fortune
cookie. that bad kung pao
chicken. your family's Italian
cooking. your soft round thighs.
yes, your thighs.

Laura E. Davis
Braiding the Storm
Finishing Line Press

Laura E. Davis


what it means

The speaker has had some problems in her life, probably of a sexual nature, probably of a sexually violent nature, but the hunt for finding someone to blame is not the right direction to feel better and ends up being ridiculous. 

There is no one to blame.  Or there is so much to blame that it is ridiculous to start.  

why I like it

I like the tone.  There's sort of a tongue in cheek but not thing going on.  The speaker is mocking the person who tries to blame anyone and everything and yet has empathy for that person.  I like the kindness in this poem, especially if it is a gentle mocking and kindness to the self.


I like list poems.  I like that we don't actually know what all these things are being blamed for.  In my imagination, the writer had something in mind to generate the specifics, but the poem doesn't need it mentioned.

My favorite line is "(you know the one)."  I love that the speaker says it as an aside to herself like this whole poem she's been in conversation with herself and now she chides herself a little for pretending not to know the answers.  It carries such a big story with it. 

You can buy her book at Finishing Line Press