Monday, July 11, 2016


Hair to plait, to tuck away.
Skin scrubbed, tawny by noon.
Leave the pale to the gilded cage.
We don't need them here.

Maid to bride to matron be.
Done in an instant.
This kingdom made for the buxom, brown.
Youth be wasted now.
Prize be service, prize be steady.
Day by day, noon to evening, winter to spring.

You will bear child after child.
Some brighter, some stronger or kinder than the rest.
No use being stingy.
You were  made for this life.

You stretch the crop, you stretch the slaughter.
You salt, you sweeten, you brine.
Then lay it upon a table, to seem aplenty.
Grace could be said to you alone,
For planting the seed, for manning the pot.

Feet to wear.
Grooves across fields, across floorboards.
You cut a serviceable figure.
In frocks sewn, made thin and soft
Dyed pale by the clothesline, sunburned wind whipped.
Beauty be what beauty does.

Hands made to till, hands that will forage.
Arms to hold, to wash the dust and grit.
Eyes clear and bright to squint away the morn, to see in the dark.
Ears to listen for the cry, the locusts.
The rare sound of company calling, the butter ready in a pan.

Pink lips part, velvet borne.
From bitten rose, from scalloped lily.
This is handiwork, the one finer thing.
Drawn by a different god, sweet cast of artifice.
Set aloft by Jesus or Darwin.
Almost too fair, sinful even.
A bit of sugar.
To lay upon the bent husband who chose you.
And the side by side you made with him.

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