“Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel” by Jamie McGraw

Umbrella Mouth (Escargot)
“Escargot” by Marilyn Sears Bourbon

Two nights ago my father found me

dead. My body formed like a metal scrap
malformed by extreme heat.
A beat of him in an ocher grave.

Outside a starling grappled with a whore of a bee.
Inside a syringe containing cotton shreds,
coagulated blood, bacteria, and smack
hugged my left forearm.


At age five I called ants my friends,
showed them my baby teeth collection.
They grew so fond of me,
learned it’s okay to lose things,
you’ll go right on living.


The day I died I studied photographs of deep-sea creatures:
megamouth sharks, fangtooths, vampire squids.
The most frightful ones filled with light.

They care not who sees their crookedness,
their orthodontic atrocities.
God damned them to the deep,
because they’re so damned ugly.

Not so unkind, though,
to be so deep in something
that God grants you your very own light.

Just so you can recall your body.
Just so you can remember
you exist.



Jamie McGraw lives in and sometimes leaves North Carolina. She is currently enrolled in Queens University of Charlotte’s MFA program. Previous work has been published in APA journal Families, Systems, and Health, Red Fez, and Beatdom. Her spirit animal is a lobster. Don’t ask. (Actually, no. Do. Do ask.)

Read an interview with Jamie here.

3 thoughts on ““Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel” by Jamie McGraw

  1. Pingback: January 2013 | Rkvry Quarterly Literary Journal

  2. Pingback: An Interview with Jamie McGraw | Rkvry Quarterly Literary Journal

  3. Simply beautiful poem. I really love the last lines, “God grants you your very own light./Just so you can recall your body.” And the first like break between “found me”/”dead” is just magnificent.