JO ANGELA EDWINS

Jo Angela Edwins has published poems in various venues including Calyx, Adanna, Rise Up Review, Whale Road Review, and Zone 3. Her chapbook Play was published in 2016. She has received awards from the SC Academy of Authors, Poetry Super Highway, and Winning Writers and is a Pushcart Prize, Forward Prize, and Bettering American Poetry nominee. She lives and teaches in Florence, SC.

 

middling

Edwins.jpg

When that quick red river

ran dry, desire did too.

Spry and lithe when young,

this body grew old and shot

itself to hell. That foal,

restless animal, was beautiful,

untamed, her wild mane

billowed in wind, gilded

in moonlight, a force

too regal for a name. She had

no idea what it meant

to grow slow, to go lame.

But fire in the muscle?

So constant it was

she needn’t speak it.

The grit in her throat,

the mad streak through the fields,

the glance backwards at studs

leaping and grunting.

She would slow to let them

catch her. Now I go hunting

room to room for a thing

I held in my hand

a moment ago. Words flee

as fast as the boys

I would have once

called men. That shimmering

past is as distant

as Orion, as starved

as a weary lioness.

Some days I feel a glimmer

of it, faint and sodden beneath

soured milk and sweat.

On those days I refuse

to cry age just yet,

search corners of the house

for tangible proof

I was alive and needed

once—a long tuft of uncut hair,

a sloughed-off bit

of unshod hoof.