The Town Knows It’s a Girl
They rubbed salt on me without my knowledge. Plucked my father
to a single-strand lariat of hair.
When the pure gold was dangled over my palm, the pendant swung
in circles. The pendant spun a hive. I tried to tie everything
in contingency knots or hexagons. Uncrossed my legs. The skeleton
keys picked up by the thin end giving
me away, honeycomber that I am: each pin unpricked
over a wrist. I told the bees a stinger instead. Told them my queen was
dead: I think I am a stolen. Sick with a colony, with a collapse.
I do not touch my lips—& the town knows:
it’s a girl. When she turns opaque the town will take
her: an anchor, a paperweight, a cake
of stickying light. There were fits & pennies: a chalk white arrow. I wore
this when spring turned to summer—the dried lilies packed in
baby’s breath: a reliquary of practice contractions. Her quickening
heartbeat a sough. The jig up just before deliverance.
(First appeared in Memorius 23)
Cori A. Winrock is the author of This Coalition of Bones (Kore Press, 2014), which received the Freund Prize for a first collection. Her work has appeared in Best New Poets (2013 & 2011), West Branch, Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, From the Fishouse, The Journal, and elsewhere. She won the Summer Literary Seminars’ St. Petersburg Review Award, was chosen as Editor’s Choice for Mid-American Review’s James Wright Poetry Award, and is the recipient of a Barbara Deming Individual Artist Grant. Her manuscript was a finalist for a number of prizes including the Academy of American Poets Walt Whitman Award, the Ahsahta Sawtooth Prize, and the Crab Orchard First Book Award. She received her MFA from Cornell University. A former Visiting Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at SUNY Geneseo, Winrock is currently a Vice Presidential Fellow in the Literature and Creative Writing Ph.D. program at the University of Utah. She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and their daughters Sallie & Rosa.