Because A Sharp Girl Must Be A Changeling


after Yeats’s “The Stolen Child”

Their daughter was unusual,
born with dirt caked inside
her skeleton, packed in so tight
she resembled a real child, the hard
lines of her face so much like her
grandmother who was born
without arms who,
when given to her mother,
sprouted leather wings instead,
and when fully grown could not hold her own
children for the flapping.
The daughter would bake
large loaves of bread, iced cinnamon
buns and hang them from every
branch of every tree. Say
grandmother, come to me,
come show me how to be
a girl in this deformed world,
to carry the silence of turning
inside me like a blister
in a shoe. And wouldn’t you know
she was raised in a house built
on a rath, from bones and stone, sawed
and leveled bricks placed one
after the other, walling her in.
And the men say put her over
the fire just to see, and the women
say bake her a cake in a thimble,
just to see, and the children
watch with their marble eyes
rolling back into their bodies
which are all full of earth too,
which move with the rhythms
of the turning moon, whose rivers
reflect the open face of the sky.