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"Homemaker", "Sure Call Me a Homemaker", "After the 12th Bedtime Story" & "6 a.m." by Bethany Jarmul


Animal aches live in your belly.

Susurration of hearts in an oblong

vase on the kitchen island. Boil the

bear delivered in an oak box. Pick

its fur from your incisors. Outside, a

snowglobe of suffering bursts into

star crystals. You want to hide, but

this weird world whispers your


Sure, Call Me a “Homemaker”

One-eyed cockroach sips toothpaste on the sink. Brazen blackbird bites my baby’s nose

and toes. A cumulonimbus fills the kitchen sink with tears and lightning bolts. Bigfoot’s

hair clogs the shower drain, so the bathroom becomes a lake, where Medusa’s snakes

now want to mate. Shakespeare pens a tragedy with alphabet magnets, grape jelly.

Curious George swings from ceiling fan, one foot-hand squirting bananas across the

room like torpedoes. Cupid’s arrow jammed in the toaster, bent and blazing, smoke

alarm blaring. Just then, my mother-in-law phones—she’s on her way.

After the 12th Bedtime Story

Open the night sky like a medicine


inside you’ll find God sitting on a stool,

elbows on knees, chin resting on hands,

glowing in the light of a moon-shaped

night light, listening to a toddler whose

weary parents have sent him to bed,

listening to a toddler’s run-on sentences,

run-on stories, run-on suggestions—that

with a flick, burst into meteorite showers,

thousands of word particles burning in a

glorious celestial flourish.

6 a.m.

A milky quiet,

doughy stillness,

refrigerator’s hum,

my pen scratching

against paper,

the house

inhaling & exhaling

with sticky slumber,

my toddlers’ lollipop


I’ll imbibe this moment,

melt it on my tongue,

savor each morsel, molecule

of peace

for when tiny voices

start calling




when small humans

hailstone their

emotions, needs,

desires, upon me

I’ll swallow

the hailstones, chunk by chunk

until they melt

inside me, on top of me,

around me—

I will


This moment

will be the straw

through which I sip


I’ve never been so

elated to be awake alive

at 6 a.m.

Bethany Jarmul’s work has appeared in more than 50 literary magazines—including Salamander, Emerge Journal, Cease Cows—and been nominated for Best of the Net and Best Spiritual Literature. Her prose poem chapbook This Strange and Wonderful Existence is forthcoming from Bottlecap Press. Her nonfiction chapbook Take Me Home is forthcoming from Belle Point Press. She earned first place in Women on Writing’s Q2 2022 & Q2 2023 essay contests. Her essay “Intersections” earned the award for “Best in Show: Creative Nonfiction” for Winter 2023 from Inscape Journal. She lives near Pittsburgh. Connect with her at or on Twitter: @BethanyJarmul.

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