Catherine Arra

Her Feral Child

In Mother’s womb,
a floating fragrance of myself,
I felt a woman’s ache.

She was good, I knew, even then—
only scarred some, having suffered
at the hands of men she loved.

Her father, then mine.
How we marry the forces
we must overcome.

I grew a spine, lungs, fingers,
a heart, and vowed
I would be her feral child.

Would protect her. Stay
through her absences, a body
closed to sensation.

I’d traverse the distances
of her deserts, hum dirges
for her lost girlhood.

I’d become the wolf mother she needed,
a sentinel to shield her from
the fathers, Betty Crocker, and the 1950s.

I’d become the woman she longed to be
not bound in domesticity, soothed by cigarettes,
and booze in the floating fragrance of herself.


Catherine Arra is a former high school English and writing teacher. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous literary journals online and in print, and in several anthologies. She is the author of Solitude, Tarot & the Corona Blues, forthcoming from Kelsay Books, Deer Love (Dos Madres Press, 2021), Her Landscape, Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein, (Finishing Line Press, 2020), (Women in Parentheses) (Kelsay Books, 2019), Writing in the Ether (Dos Madres Press, 2018) and three chapbooks. Arra lives in upstate New York, where she teaches part-time, and facilitates local writing groups. Find her at