Prayer from a Magdalena Jail Cell


Prayer from a Magdalena Jail Cell

by Abby Templeton-Green

$14.99, paper

Abby Templeton-Greene is the author of An Avocado Slowly Falling, a collection of bilingual poems in Spanish and English, published with Dancing Girl Press. Her work has been published in McSweeneys, Calyx Journal, RATTLE, Pilgrimage, The Wazee, The Mom Egg Review and many other journals. She was the recipient of the 2011 Lighthouse Writers Seven Deadly Sins Writing Contest, the 2012 Sixfold Writers contest prize for poetry and a finalist in the Blast Furnace Chapbook competition. She also writes articles for The Denver Voice, a local street paper in Denver, Colorado where she lives with her husband and two children.


Prayer from a Magdalena Jail Cell endeavors to map out lyrically the passage through grief—to give lines and demarcations, borders and sense, to the timeless, placelessness of tragedy. And as we follow these scars cut across the earth, these highway markings and crosses stabbed in the sand, we also traverse the veins of a body, a family, a self—the life left behind. In stark and bodily language, Templeton-Greene captures the visceral nature of loss, the wound ripped into the cloth, at the same time giving space to the possibility of renewal, to the power to reweave, remake, continue.

–Courtney E. Morgan, author of The Seven Autopsies of Nora Hanneman

The poems in Abby Templeton-Greene’s Prayer from a Magdalena Jail Cell dare to look tragedy and loss in the face— “Our car rolled seven times that day, / the desert sun cascading/ through windshield’s broken ribcage” or “[there is] a patch/ of scalp missing where/ we tried to scoop your brains/ back in”—to find the things that make us human. There is grief in these poems, to be sure, but this collection is truly a prayer for us all, a reminder of “the goddamn magic of being alive.”

–Lauren Marie Schmidt, author of Filthy Labors (Northwestern University Press)

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