An Attempt at a Sestina

Tweetspeak Poetry is encouraging everyone to try a sestina poem in July. Here goes!




“Let’s go for a walk,”

she’d say, and then my mother

would circle the block. I’d question

why we couldn’t go farther. My body

could handle it. But Merry

Nell’s couldn’t. She needed a horcrux


or, perhaps, more than one horcrux.

To figure that out, she’d need a longer walk—

through the neighborhood. She’d be merry,

as she always was. I am a mother

who likes to push her body.

There’s no question


about it. But every day I question

why I am her horcrux.

Why everybody

seems to think that I am walking her walk,

that I am mothering like my mother.

It’s true. My name is also Merry,


and I also chose to marry

at 21. That is not the question.

I need to know how to mother

without one. All I have is a horcrux,

one I bring with me each morning I take a walk:

my own body.


But it’s acting strangely, my body.

It’s giving me signs, as yours did, Merry

Nell. Oh, it still can walk

up actual mountains. But I do question

because it doesn’t feel like mine. It feels like a horcrux.

I feel like I am you, my dear, dead mother.


And I’m not, am I? Holy Mary, mother

of God. Pray. You’re not here in body.

Neither is my mom. She’s only a horcrux.

She wasn’t into you, Mary.

She didn’t even have a question

about you. Not even when she couldn’t walk.


Like Harry, I am the horcrux. I am not my mother.

I can still walk, and I still dwell in this body.

But I am Merry Megan. No question.