used to be handsome women.
Strong-chinned, they were solider then,
broad-backed and rough-handed.
Their beauty was measured in volume —
they'd fill a room with their burlap laughter
and you'd reach out
to weigh their words there in the palm of your hand.
What did they need of a second skin
when they could feel the world around them with
— hands hewn from rock and wood
remedies in their heads and blessings
tied about their hair to keep the dust and impropriety
from settling in.
of themselves, of life, of children
forged by tongues at fire's side
any legacies of wiser lips
and wizened eyes
breasts, hips, the fullness of ripening pears
that a speckle with the time and season
herbs and sweat and pollen to the tasting, with winter
to cure and summer to thaw and drop heavy down
tying up with a fistful of twine.
so I re-member them,
these handsome women
— I, the sum of many hands.
They hand me down,
stitching to show
working, bending over
sore eyes loving what they see
I will be,
Literary Arts Magazine
Volume 3, Issue 2
poem has been revised since publication.