Woman at the Edge of the World

Sometimes I'm there on the Victory Stage
dancing with my young arms open. Sometimes
I watch my daughters' father die
as though he were turning from me.

I will say what I want to.
Anger bites out from me like an animal
guarding her young. But my young aren't young
and have children. My daughters have daughters

and so they go on leaving me here.
It is myself I guard.
My body has been crumbling for years and the pain
eats me inside out. I bear it.

Sometimes I wake naked in the hallway.
Sometimes bruised or burned
and they want to take me from these rooms
with their wood and comfort.

My mother's furniture here. The thick bright
familiar rugs, things my daughters want.
There is nothing here I leave them, not my rooms,
my rings, the names I chose for them, not the things

I bought to be theirs. All I leave them
is these old bones. And not my vixen's love.
That I keep for my own.

Copyright © Neile Graham, 1995. All rights reserved.
Previously published in Blood Memory, Sheela-na-Gig and Contemporary Verse 2.

Sample poems

From Blood Memory

(at The Alsop Review): Story 1 § Sleeping With Lambs § Furious § The Basement Exit § Paper Rock Scissors Stone Water Air § Storyteller Talking At The End of Her Days § You Designed the Map § Ravenous § Tuppence in Pocket § Sheela-na-Gig § A Course in Sadness

(here onsite): The Skin of our Teeth § Woman at the Edge of the World

From Spells for Clear Vision

My Grandmother's Photograph § Washing at Sunset § Midfire § Hero at the Gates of Hell

From Seven Robins

Heart of Stone § November Arrives on the Coast § Seven Robins § Sky is that Moment § St. Maudlin (La Folle)

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