Sept/Oct 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 5 Poetry |

Mise en Abyme

The Kenyon Review · "Mise En Abyme" by Callie Siskel I was a lot to carry in summer. High winds shook the round windows for which the hospital is known. It was a Saturday, midday; I was upside-down. They cut her open to lift me out. The swaddle and hat were too small, so I was wrapped inside a towel. My name pleased both sides of the family — a shared consonance with my mother’s father, an overall sound with my father’s mother. I came home to a sister who thought I belonged to someone else. “Marie,” she said to the nurse, “you forgot your baby.” Somewhere on earth is my matryoshka doll. Rarely did I open her: I preferred to hear her wooden offspring knocking around inside — the son with the broom and the daughter with a scythe. The baby in the patchwork quilt, I pitied—it would never hold anything. My grandmother, the youngest of her siblings, fled Russia as a child and brought nothing with her. She remembers her bedroom being black. She never carried my

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Photo of Callie Siskel
Callie Siskel is the author of Arctic Revival (Poetry Society of America, 2022), winner of a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. Her poems appear in The AtlanticPloughsharesA Public Space, and other journals. She is a 2020–22 Wallace Stegner Fellow and a Dornsife Doctoral Fellow in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California.

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