What happens in this story / by Merie Kirby
This is not the story you think it is, the one about
the girl who touches the spindle and drops to the floor.
This is not the one about the girl sentenced to death
by a looking glass. This is not the one where
the mother is buried under a tree and white birds
peck themselves to death to make the daughter
a dress. This is not the one about blood red shoes
spinning endlessly in the dark forest, still holding
the feet of another victim of longing, who must
continue to suffer to earn grace.
This is the one about a woman in a boat shaped
like the thin seed of a marigold flower, about how she
drops her oars, slipping into the surface of the water,
ruffling the looking glass surface. At the finish
of each stroke the oar lifts up through the water
back into air, a drop of water spinning sunlight
off the blade in a moment of lingering, and the boat
slides, glides. In this story the symbols of longing
are callouses, muscles, sweat, alarm clocks.
In this story, grace is on the water.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Merie Kirby wrote this poem for me in September 2014 as part of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project in which poets volunteer to write and post 30 poems over 30 consecutive days. Merie offered to write poems for friends if they provided her with five words. The words I provided, if I remember correctly, were glass, spin, drop, longing, and grace.