Jenny Huddleston O’Grady ’98, who is featured in the Winter 2014 Quarterly, stitches poetry into the skirts of dolls or winds it inside a diminutive typewriter. Her playful “poem sculptures” have been recognized with a 2013 b-grant from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.

Last spring O’Grady finished one of her most intriguing poem sculptures to date. Constructed as a horseshoe crab with jointed appendages, “Our Blood Holds Secrets” is hidden in the creature’s “book gills.” It assumes the voice of a horseshoe crab watching one of her offspring captured for a scientific experiment.

Our Blood Holds Secrets

by Jenny O’Grady

they took the blood
of my shale-backed
daughter,


took it in a tube,
pooling blue and copper,
legs helpless in the air.


they cradled her in rubber
gloves, and it felt like
the universe stopped:


and here we are with my
mother’s mother’s mother,
calm in the family


armor, calm and fearing
nothing at all, not
the monsters of the Triassic,


not the unforgiving surf or the
rough clasp of her mate,
nor the unceasing pull of

time. time means nothing to
the ocean.


today, they took the blood
of my daughter, slipped the
needle neatly past the plates.


our blood holds secrets
that will outlive this
rubber glove,


this boat, this man
pitching her into
the salted sea.

To see more of O'Grady's work, visit her website.