Spotlight: Education for Bastards / Congregations for Bastards / Auctions for Bastards

Education for Bastards

Listen—you could be anyone.
Other kids say they know
their fathers, but marriage? That’s a knot
made for plot twists.
What’s better than Imagination? And her pedigree’s as full
of holes as yours. She stretches across the unknown,
she makes new stories, she flies through the galaxies and back.
Her best friend is Uncertainty.



Congregations for Bastards

“A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth
generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 23:2,

On this we agree—
children aren’t blank pages.
God writes their flesh
and bone codes.

But why etch them with clarity
if they’re meant to be spurned?
Or form them at all
if they’re burdens?

Or give them
brothers and sisters?
Who made your sun
so bright, it blisters?



Auctions for Bastards

“Porcelain bisque,” sang the auctioneer, “spring
mechanism still in place.” The dolls with silks
of human hair smirked when carried off
to homes where Frozen Charlottes and Flanders Babies
already smiled from polished shelves,

but we—dismembered torsos, unrelated limbs,
and wrong-sized heads—jostled in darkness
under a lid. Someone bought us
for a workshop, where crafters tried
to putty up our cracks and match us

up with other parts, re-member us,
all in service of another sale, but still we loved
the ones who tried to make us whole
(as only the dismembered can)
for what light they had to work in.


Michele Leavitt, a poet and essayist, is also an adoptee, high school dropout, hepatitis C survivor, and former trial attorney. She’s written essays for venues including Guernica MagCatapultSycamore Review, The Rumpus, and Grist and is the author of the Kindle singles memoir Walk Away. Poems appear recently in North American Review, concis, Gravel, Baltimore Review, and Poet Lore. More at