Fall 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 4 Luminous Gender VesselAugust 30, 2023 |

Spiraled Ham

It sat fat face down in its glazed heft as I slid the weighted tray into the oven, later pulling it out in its juiced glory to give to guests who would practically take it down to the bone. Many guests were mothers who thanked me for also being a mother. I was friends with the mothers’ husbands. We were all friends, and I moved from room to room from friend to friend and only wished if only I could be alone in a room with each of them, but also relished seeing them speak to one another, relishing knowing flushed faces kindling words lit up like sticks picking up heat and flaming up in the woodstove. But then I saw my father’s head was set in those logs, a little mad flame. He’s been dead and I’ve liked it so much I forgot his birthday. One day it was his birthday and I ate, did not remember he was dead, and instead ate ice cream, and shouldn’t there be a holiday upon which we eat a cake baked like a dead dad and blow out the candles on the dead dad c

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Photo of Cate Marvin

Cate Marvin has published four books of poems, most recently Event Horizon (Copper Canyon Press, 2022). She teaches at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, and lives in Southern Maine.

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