local_library Three Poems by Emma Bolden

by Emma Bolden

Published in Issue No. 162 ~ November, 2010

	You will find yourself
a hum     by the hearth
	the spoon     happy

to lick      soup from the pot’s
	broad chest     you will see
yourself a needle     aquiver

	at the thrust     of thread
your hair will tie     itself with the ribbons
	his hands      most love

to untie     you will lye
	scour    your skirts
with stones     by the river’s

	thinned sides     you
will bury     the bloodied straw
	for him    the pheasant

its feathers    stripped
	you     will see
your legs     spread beneath him

	as wings     you will fly
to his farm     when bidden
	crows cawing     of danger

of pleasure     of shame
	your corset     will unlace
itself     his nails

	peck     small beaks
you will gather     wild
	roots     without question

you will swallow     them you will pray
	the new moon     finds you
bloody    without what

	he could give you     such strange
words     for shame


You are a silent     April
	holding its tongue     of grain

you are the owl’s     hush
	and I     the rat

by talons     slit     you are
	the hawk     cleaning carrion’s smooth

curve     of skull     until polite
	without the wild     interruption

of instinct     you are     the rope
	and you     its noose     may your wife’s

breasts     become blank     may your thumb
	stroke her     sere     may her daughter

be by flesh     betrayed     barren
	may need     clench     her privileged

jaw     may she seek     from me
	my catmint bath     my lady’s

mantle     my lettuce     to feed her
	husband lust     may our 

daughter curse her      with wax slashed
	with worms pinned     with rue

may our daughter     be brought to witch
	by her witch     of a mother     your brutal

beauty     your gorgeous hag     your sweetest
	of all sweets     your whore


The rye curled     into itself     the fields
     a thousand fists     of grain raised dry
          to accuse     the perpetual     azure

priests came     with their waters
     which their God ignored     turning on us
          forever     His disastrous

patience     His fatal blue     I was called
     after the thirteenth cow     died from want
          of grazing     henbane and hazel  

branch     I traced a circle
     in oak woods     I made
          with Him a bargain     o God take

from me anything     to grant   me
     this power     your power     o power
          it rained

each cloud     a gash
     of mouth     through which sky
          screamed rain     and hail     and I

in God’s answer     whirled     wet
     robes     the hands
           of the village     praised me

my name     as it rained
     my rain     which would
          not stop     until the flood’s     

gray feet     kicked down
     the strongest     home

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Emma Bolden has published three chapbooks of poetry. A graduate with an MFA from the University of North Carolina, her work has appeared in Indiana Review, Feminist Studies, and Prairie Schooner. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown College and poetry editor for the Georgetown Review.