(Poem) Bones of a Generous Woman by Phibby Venable

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“My grandmother, Mahalia, who died young leaving eight children. My uncle told me once that she was a poet. I couldn’t decipher from his face, (stern & stoic) whether he approved or not. I have always wondered what she wrote about. But married at 13, to her husband, Reuben, also a teen, and dying at 31 from childbed fever, I imagine it was interesting.”

Open this woman and she pours
a torrent of sweet butter
Tender shoots stretch her arms
Her hands are a gentle torment
washing away the grit
of damaged lovers
Dazzling hip bones swing
She is a broken bone of bird song
wrens, robins, and orioles
perch on her cracked knuckles
The bones in her face laugh
with the warm scent of night
She is a bending, stretching pirouette
of amazing grace

See Meet Mago Contributor Phibby Venable.