An Algonquin Woman Saves Herself – by Mary R. Finnegan


Sometimes, a fishhook
and a bit of flesh
are all you need
to save your baby
and yourself.

Take the knife,
slice off a piece of thigh
and with that meaty part
of your own body:
Bait the hook.

the sweet taste of the fish,
the cool,
arctic flavor of this lake trout
that saves you.

Everything may be frozen,
encased in the ice
that killed your tribesmen.
Your son may grow cruel.
But for now:

You survive.
You need only
a knife, a hook,
madness enough
to sliver your own flesh.



Mary R. Finnegan is a writer and nurse living in Philadelphia. Her poetry and essays have been published or are forthcoming in Dead Housekeeping, HEAL, Medical Literary Messenger, Catholic Digest, Three Drops from a Cauldron, and The American Journal of Nursing.