02 April 2006

Barbara Presnell

[from Unravelings by Barbara Presnell]

What a Woman Will Give Birth To

Two years after her
so-called spell,
two years of carrying her belly like a brick
and waking up nights to voices in her head,
to the everyday feeling she was just not herself,
doctors reopened the wound.
In the closet of her sunset womb
they found a pair of rusted scissors,
one white glove, a feather from
a mockingbird, three small marbles
(one cat's eye), size 38 Washington
Dee Cee overalls, a handful of baby teeth,
the Vienna boys choir singing "Ave Maria,"
a 1905 buffalo nickel,
the one hundred and twenty-first psalm.
Not long after they cleaned her
out and closed her up,
the emptiness they left behind
killed her.

Yesterday in Asheboro, NC, I studied with Barbara Presnell in a poetry workshop sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society . Thank you Bette Burgess for organizing and participating, Kay Fetner for the almond-coconut cupcakes, and all the other poets who participated.

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