V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




Women rise to the star loft.  Women wait
at the back door, set platters before you,
bread and meat.  Another woman washes. 
It’s different every night.  Your sister
has two days warning before her wedding,
but she has been sewing since she was five. 
Your cousin is nineteen, but her groom
is sixty. You risk salvation by squeezing
your eyes.  Now your prophet is wheat
in a rain field.  Now your prophet is acid
and orange.  Love ends in the pocket, a rope
belt untying.  The threads fissure like hair
in the hand.  What is your name and who
is your mother?  The halls are full of girls. 
You get used to fingers.  The boys are lost—leave
them.  Leave behind your nineteen mothers.
Your father will never remember your name.


© by Alison Stine


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