Four Poems

Poetry / Jenny Molberg

:: Four Poems ::


Mol­berg — 4 Poems PDF

From the writer


:: Account ::

These poems seek to shed light on the fail­ures of the Amer­i­can jus­tice sys­tem to pro­tect vic­tims of abuse and inti­mate part­ner vio­lence. The poems are a part of a forth­com­ing book, The Court of No Record (LSU Press 2023), in which a court tran­script in verse presents a cast of characters—the Alpha, the per­pe­tra­tor of abuse and the peti­tion­er in court; two women who have spo­ken out against his abuse; the Hon­or­able Answer, a judge with ques­tion­able con­flicts of inter­ests; and the two attor­neys who rep­re­sent the peti­tion­er and respon­dent. The Alpha’s attor­ney speaks most­ly in anti­quat­ed Bible vers­es, illu­mi­nat­ing the oppres­sive dam­age of patri­ar­chal reli­gious insti­tu­tions on our society’s response to inti­mate part­ner vio­lence and the gaslight­ing that occurs when vic­tims break their silence. “Evi­dence” sug­gests what the court will not hear—that is, tes­ti­mo­ny often silenced in cas­es of abuse, as a victim’s sto­ry may not be con­sid­ered evi­den­tiary sup­port or is called hearsay. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, as many vic­tims of abuse know, legal action can exac­er­bate a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion, and often an abuser’s ver­sion of events is weighed in equal mea­sure to a victim’s. Orders of pro­tec­tion are often manip­u­lat­ed by abusers or proven inef­fec­tive because the court will not see “proof” of abuse until a vic­tim is already injured, or, dev­as­tat­ing­ly, killed. With these poems, I hope to encour­age a con­ver­sa­tion that needs to be made more urgent—how to demand change with­in our sys­tems’ fail­ures and how to recon­sid­er the word “jus­tice” in hege­mon­ic and misog­y­nis­tic legal set­tings.  

Jen­ny Mol­berg is the author of three poet­ry col­lec­tions: Mar­vels of the Invis­i­ble (win­ner of the Berk­shire Prize, Tupe­lo Press, 2017), Refusal (LSU Press, 2020), and The Court of No Record (LSU Press, 2023). She edit­ed the Unsung Mas­ters book, Ade­laide Crapsey: On the Life & Work of an Amer­i­can Mas­ter. She has received fel­low­ships and schol­ar­ships from the Nation­al Endow­ment for the Arts, the Sewa­nee Writ­ers Con­fer­ence, Ver­mont Stu­dio Cen­ter, and the Lon­gleaf Writ­ers Con­fer­ence. Her poems and essays have recent­ly appeared or is forth­com­ing in Ploughshares, VIDA, The Mis­souri Review, The Rum­pus, The Adroit Jour­nal, Oprah Quar­ter­ly, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. She is Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Cre­ative Writ­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cen­tral Mis­souri, where she directs Pleiades Press and co-edits Pleiades magazine.