Become an O:JA&L Member through Patreon.

Julia Chiapella


Girl in a Kitchen by Anna Archer

Before there was the slap. Before my world left you beside
a road whose signs you couldn’t follow. Long before my own

daughter fell from fallow to full, her body her own, her will
as well. Before we couldn’t, I mean, I wouldn’t see behind chiseled

virtues where you, cloister-like, rested inside that sweet asylum.
Before I pushed you hard aside, my toothed stone axe, my pick,

my mallet propped handy to carve away dismissals. Before
you tumbled from this world where someday we will go, I watch

again, as you sing, your voice a lilt spilling from the kitchen, my
chin counter-high, small hands clutching the edge. For a minute

I can see joy’s hold on you, before all the children, before the scrape
and burn of hardship, you held its hand, my hand. Our voices rose.


About the writer:
Julia Chiapella’s poetry has appeared in Avatar Review, Edison Literary Review, I-70 Review, The MacGuffin, Midwest Quarterly, Pirene’s Fountain, Streetlight Magazine, and The Wax Paper, among others. She co-founded Santa Cruz Writes to enhance literary opportunities for Santa Cruz County, California, residents. The retired director of the Young Writers Program, which she established in 2012, Julia received the Gail Rich Award in 2017 for creative contributions to Santa Cruz County.

Image: Girl in a Kitchen by Anna Archer (1859-1935). Oil on canvas. 34.5 x 26.9 inches. 1883. Public domain.

Become an O:JA&L Member through Patreon.


Privacy Preference Center