My smile is a cloak that covers everything. I speak
as if my very heart is in love with God. What hypocrisy.
From the Letters of Mother Teresa
Don’t feel sorry for us, medicate
us, don’t meditate on us with rainbow energy.
Don’t call child protective services, assume
my husband isn’t getting any, don’t
bring me a week’s worth of zucchini lasagna.
Believe me, I keep discovering my house
is not a convent and this kitchen not a chapel.
There isn’t a room where the paring knife hole
in my side can bleed its nothing, bleed
its nothing without interruption.
Just give me Halloween—
one black and white nun costume to trick
even Jesus, a loaf of pan de muerto
to feed the thin cratered moon.
Give me All Hallows’ Eve—
an orange vegetable metaphor with a silver
spoon. Scooped and emptied, I’m wrapping
every damn seed that tangles me
in yesterday’s newspaper, chicken feed.
So let me mourn when nobody’s died.
I swear it’s less like navel-gazing and more like the black
hole of my gut, my white cell pleiades
spinning in the part of the painting the artist leaves blank.
And don’t let hollow women burn
their brooding letters like straw.
Remind them sometimes even saints suck
it up, grin, summon
grace from a god-empty breast.
“Hollow Women” is forthcoming in In Broken Latin, 2012, University of Arkansas Press
Annette Spaulding-Convy’s full length collection, In Broken Latin, will be published by the University of Arkansas Press (Fall 2012) as a finalist for the Miller Williams Poetry Prize. Her chapbook, In The Convent We Become Clouds, won the 2006 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. She is a 2011 Jack Straw fellow and her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Crab Orchard Review and in the International Feminist Journal of Politics, among others. She is co-editor of the literary journal, Crab Creek Review, and is co-founder of Two Sylvias Press, which has published the first eBook anthology of contemporary women’s poetry, Fire On Her Tongue.