No Obligations

Julianne Neely


Momma would                       May Swenson

like me                                    would we        

break lines                              over whiskey              

talk iconography                     while rolling

cigarettes Momma


                                                would Sylvia

Plath bite                                my ear

whisper funnies                      about Ted’s

performance stamina             in bed

would we                                 laugh hell

Momma would                        I save

her from                                  the smoke


Momma please                        tell me

Momma would                        Elizabeth Bishop

fuck me                                   see me

really see                                 me more

than muse                               with truth

eternal proving                       Bishop wrong

debating humility                    all night

in jersey                                   sheets holding

skin Momma                            would she


Momma please                        don’t Momma

don’t say                                  Dickinson wouldn’t

write me                                  letters about

flowers veiling                         repression Momma

she would                                give me

honesty in                               condensed summaries

so poetic                                 you’d say

are they                                   or aren’t

they I                                       just know

it Momma                                please I


can’t carry                               weight without

knowing obscure                     things like

if Bradstreet                            would stretch

time growing                           thin our

friendship breaking                 over nouns

dying for                                  verbs Sexton

crying over                              Alfred on

my lap                                      me pushing

back her                                  hair wiping

a tear                                       bringing over

a glass                                     of wine

a pen                                       a pad

saying Anne                            oh Anne

write it                                    down Momma


don’t you                                dare say

it Momma                               did you

ever love                                 me Momma

please don’t                            make me

pull you                                   out of

your grave                               to know


Julianne Neely, 23, is a writer from New York. She has been previously published in Random Sample Review, Unbroken Journal, Babe Soda Zine, Moon Zine, and Maudlin House. She hates bios, but loves Harry Potter. She also likes Twitter. Follow her @juleneely. But not around in person. That would be weird.