What words are now filed away from her seal?
[Where mother is pressed between maiden and hag.]

Nine months. A misery—oh, Mary.
[The only survivor to escape his Fall.]

And words are all. They’re planted seeds.
Words grow, grant, build and mar love.

Words collect love—marry it and maiden
form, though she is herbless in her cellar.

She shrouds this husk with tall liminalities;
climbs creaking boughs come his harvest.

Arms as wings, hair as wheat—she has nothing
to bear or to strike. Loathsome conjured nights in fur.

She waxes, flickers in clarified light. Her cask
of heart-shorn sin is carried by unreliable winds.

Kari Flickinger’s poetry and short stories have been published in or are forthcoming from Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Moonchild Magazine, Quiet Storm, Panoply, Milk Journal, Susurrus, Falcon Scratch, The Daily Californian, and The Inquirer (Diablo Valley College). She is an alumna of UC Berkeley.

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