Through this craving that some have wandered

Sister says that man may be bad but
he’s got money honeying up the vaults

& the buzz about town says gold’s as good
as goodness so who is she to complain, scooping

the pearls off her décolletage with the fork his family
used to serve asparagus. Shoot. A duck’s the same

as clay; if you can squint hard enough
there’s no difference between furred flesh or feather. Better

a buck in the system than a kick against. Wild,
unerring, ain’t this the land our fathers promised us

if only we daughters would quiet down & marry up. Sister
says she’s seen too many sunsets to remember

what wine tastes like from bad glasses. Uncrystalled,
the bottom of her heart beats like a bass note unfurling

through a sky that measures itself in pure
silver, no matter how ragged the night.

Emma Bolden.jpg

Emma Bolden is the author of House Is An Enigma (Southeast Missouri State University Press), medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press), and Maleficae (GenPop Books). The recipient of an NEA Fellowship, her work has appeared in The Norton Introduction to Literature, The Best American Poetry, and such journals as the Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, New Madrid, TriQuarterly, Shenandoah, and the Greensboro Review. She serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief for Tupelo Quarterly. Visit her online at