Terri Linn Davis

Better in Barbed Wire

I was closer to my mom when she was 
562 miles away at the federal penitentiary
in West Virginia. There she was a Russian
Nesting doll—kept safe from herself. Her plain
khaki jumpsuit was a magnificent strait
jacket. She has always been better in 
barbed wire. Out, she is free to drown
her liver, own the empty space in
family photos—mangle the word “mother.”
I pray she commits her life to more
bank fraud, to bad checks, to petty theft.
I want to surround her in layers
of collect calls and weekend visitations,
of pretending—
pretending she’ll be better when she gets out.

Terri Linn Davis was born in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate student in the MFA program at Southern Connecticut State University, where she has held a Graduate Assistantship, and where she serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the English Department. She is the recipient of the Jack and Annie Smith Poets and Painters Award (2018). Her poems appear in Southern’s literary journal, Folio and also in Persephone's Daughters Literary Magazine. She lives in Milford, Connecticut with her partner, Adam, and their two sons.