ANNA ROSE WELCH
As If Out Of Clay
From I don’t know which rib I built my first man.
For him, I wrapped my wrists, the arches of my feet
in silk, tied back the unruly curtain of my hair.
I wore pearls like any other bride
and he bit them from my neck like any other man
tears the apple from its core. It’s much too easy
to startle and run, to become the heroine
of a story told for centuries.
There are no stories about the women that settle.
Let me tell you one. I’ve counted my sins
like quarters; I’ve learned my worth,
how often I’d appear in the bible as a lesson:
In this verse, woman finds playing God
takes the god from her, puts it in something else.
Build a commandment from this.
The first time water saved the earth, the chosen
animals wailed as if the devil had finally come
for the leash of their throats.
Even our voices have never been our own.
I built a man from the chaos of my chest
but he was never my own.
If you must, label my book apocryphal.
These are the real lessons of creation––
We create only what we know will have dominion over us.
I knew his hands––the ones I gave him––
could mold me exquisite. Make me useless.
At least that’s some kind of faith.
167 The Paris-American
Anna Rose Welch is a violinist and editor in Erie, PA. She earned her MFA from Bowling Green State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2014, Guernica, Tupelo Quarterly, The Journal, Barrow Street, and Crab Orchard Review, among other publications. Her first manuscript was recently named a finalist for the Tupelo Press Berkshire Prize.
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