16 March 2007 | Vol. 7, No. 1

Answering the Whistle, the Glare

Here, girls become the garlands they weave from

sweetroot and chrysanthemum, crown themselves

Nymph of Stamen, Nymph of Open-Armed Foliage.

Scared of blur? They dot i's with hearts, cross-grain every line—

The body: a series of sanctuaries, an archipelago

of temples clung to the rock facade of hill or bone.

Listen to the diameter of wrist, waist—pretty glass

beads on elastic string, the beautiful pointless glitter—

The temple walls are all sandpaper and silk scarf.

Plucked and waxed for friction, dermabrasion smooth—

Origami koi dolls in each hand, their hands flutter

with lark song. Their feet skim floors of tissue paper,

card-stock. Learn to tread carefully on each. Learn

to stomp, gnash; to smile sweet with sharp teeth—

how a woman cloisters and patinas, becomes her prayers.

About the author:

Jennifer Merrifield's poetry appears in recent or future issues of journals such as Natural Bridge, LIT, and Fourteen Hills, and is anthologized in White Ink and Wild Sweet Notes II: More West Virginia Poetry. An MFA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University, she is the recipient of the 2006 Columbia Poetry Prize.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Jennifer Merrifield at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 7, No. 1, where "Answering the Whistle, the Glare" ran on March 16, 2007. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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