At the museum, I countthe number of times the Virgin Marywent to heaven. In almost all,her palms are straight andtightly clasped as sheascends. Later versions givemore warmth to her serenity—facerounder but still placid asa drying lake. Only one imageis dedicated to her birth. I standbefore it, my fingers unsurewhat to do in a roomof so much not to touch.Little Mary lays in a nursemaid's arms. The most I can seeis the crest of her head,even then, awaitingits halo. Her motherlies exhausted on the bed,her hands morelimp and downcast than hereyes as if she was tired, already,from knowing what she borewas not hers at all.
Reproduced from Prairie Schooner Volume 92, Number 4 (Winter 2018) by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 2018 by the University of Nebraska Press.
Meriwether Clarke is a poet, essayist, and educator living in Los Angeles, California. She holds degrees in Poetry from Northwestern University and UC Irvine’s Programs in Writing where she served as co-editor-in-chief and Poetry Editor of Faultline Journal of Arts and Letters. Recent work has been seen in The Michigan Quarterly Review, The Journal, Gigantic, Sequins, The Superstition Review, Salt Hill, Juked, Memorious, Dialogist, and Prelude, among others. She has been a scholarship resident at the Vermont Studio Center and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. She currently serves as a Contributing Editor for Entropy, is a volunteer editor for Trumpwatch from Entropy, and is at work on her first full length book manuscript. Her chapbook, twenty-first century woman, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. You can contact her @mweths.
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