I used to side with the universe
I trusted the wind and its wildness
I leaned between the trees like a lanky treat
Now I stamp out every arrogant thought
Every gem I turn into a stew
I’ve learned that my heart is small, my mind is small,
and my hands are small,
twinkling like toys at the end of my limbs
Like the witchy one, I exert my will in the woods of light and shadow
I sleep on a heap small enough for a child
My family possessed the major quality of valor
But someone planted the seeds of fear and doubt,
we came tumbling down
The women of my family were known for their black eyes that flashed
My eyes turn to mist and fade at the sight of things
I have the qualities of an aging woman
The wavering voice, the worried expression,
the tell-tale precision and imprecision of my manner
It’s enough to make one want to be a man
or to go tumbling down in an act of valor
Sword flashing in the hand in the field
When the wind truly blows, will this little one of the mass,
pipsqueak of the farm, flow like grass?
I will be long gone
I will have walked in the wind and passed on
many hundred years before
On what side did I step?
I walked like an Egyptian
I went the human way
My whole body, like a skeleton, music in the air
Oh, what will those hands grab next! They said
What messages will pop out from the jaw, what ideas from that bowl for a head?
What will those knees do? What will her hips say when she walks?
I’d gone to preach to the smallest of things, my red lips parted
Nope, nothing of note!
So what if God made me his little mute
I heave as a slave heaves, by the sheer will of my stance
Sheer will! From dawn of time, the end of his disc
EMILY JONES grew up in the north, on the prairie, and by the sea. Her poems have appeared in the Denver Quarterly, Mandorla, Vallum, White Wall Review (and upcoming in The Island Review). She holds an MFA from the University of Chicago and was winner of its emerging writers series in poetry. She lives in Montréal and teaches poetry to youth through the QWF.
Copyright © 2019 by Emily Jones. All rights reserved.