by Jennifer Finstrom

The woman my father is dating wants
to know what the teacup in a poem
I wrote ten years ago means. I don’t do
a good job of explaining it to my father.
I try to tell him how truth works in poetry
and how the speaker of the poem might
not even be the poet but might be
someone else, a fictional character or
a figure from history. I tell him that
the teacup is metaphorical, not real,
and that it is one of several details
chosen to work together to create
the world of the poem. He also asks
about the spindle, and this, I say,
alludes to Sleeping Beauty. He doesn’t
ask about the men in the poem, but I
think that if he did, I would try to lose
them in the wall of thorns gathering
around my explanation—after all,
that is where I have left them, anyway.

IMAGE: “The Tea Cup” by Jackson Pollock (1946).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Finstrom teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates a writing group, Writers Guild, at DePaul University. She has been the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine since October of 2005, and her work appears in After Hours, Cider Press Review, Midwestern Gothic, NEAT, and RHINO, among others. In addition, she has a poem forthcoming in The Silver Birch Press The Great Gatsby Anthology.