Worn Like Beige to Quiet

Up & in an Easter mood she
             cast her cares upon a circle
of plastic chairs, lawned &

sunned the color of milk
             blisters. Where baby’s gone
all’s gone to fever, heavy

as a nightgown, nightshade,
              flannel fallen down until
her legs don’t feel themselves

for fur. Poor missed beauty
              of the Bama pageant. Poor
lips prickled up & pruned. Baby

food. When her body went
              to milk her marriage went
to ceremony, bedside glasses

watered down to losses like
              Moses rushing the weeds, like
every August is a goddamn afront

to the Frigidaire’s decency.
              If she could remember
the color of water pooled up light

between her legs when she dreamed
              of being a bikini, stringed
& beaned green as the color of money

is the color of the myth banded up
               in the day a banker bought her
just to tie his Monday ties.

Emma Bolden is the author of three full-length collections of poetry — House Is An Enigma (Southeast Missouri State University Press), medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press) and Maleficae (GenPop Books) – and four chapbooks. She received a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A Barthelme Prize and Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize winner, her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Best Small Fictions, and Poetry Daily as well as such journals as the Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, New Madrid, TriQuarterly, Conduit, the Indiana Review, Shenandoah, the Greensboro Review, Feminist Studies, Monkeybicycle, The Pinch, and Guernica. She currently serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Quarterly.

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