Poetry slider — 01 January 2017

rene castro

by 

Marit MacArthur

illustration by Rene Castro

From the outposts
of Lovemaking and Motherhood
she advanced, a vessel
worked into the desired form.
No slenderness to the waist,
her feet are gone beneath
the long heavy dress of terracotta
sun-baked, kiln-fired,
stitched with nails.

Slack chin, hawk nose, high
cheekbones, eyes half-closed
in an easy smile, all
beneath a uniform
powder mask.

A giant brooch clasps the cape
to draw the eye away from
spent breasts. She’ll ring if lightly
struck, her iron-rich reds
oxidizing blue, hands held up
in supplication or defense.

Visible from the crowd, giant spiral
earrings match the coiled headdress,
itself the mouth-piece of the whistle,
her hollow body the resonant chamber.
Puffs of air split by the fipple
pierce the composure of the other
dignitaries, who all outrank her so far.
After the strictly ceremonial
peace talks, she follows them
back to the palace.

Author Bio
Marit MacArthur earned a B.A. in English and creative writing at Northwestern University, where poet Mary Kinzie changed everything. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in English from UC Davis and an MFA in poetry from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Her poems and translations from the Polish have appeared in Southwest Review, Leveler, Front Porch, Jacket2, American Poetry Review, Watershed Review, World Literature Today, Verse, ZYZZYVA, Peregrine, the Levan Humanities Review, and Airplane Reading.

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