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|RITA MAE REESE|
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Rita Mae Reese has received a “Discovery”/The Nation award and was a finalist for the Ruth Lilly Fellowship in Poetry. Her work has appeared in The Nation, The Southern Review, Bloom, Verse Daily, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, and elsewhere. She is currently a Wallace Stegner fellow in fiction.
Rita Mae Reese
A History of Glass
When God closes a door, we break a window.
complains about the noise. An accident. She
of accidents. Long ago and far away: a woman, a pot, a fire.
She snatches it from the hearth
throws water on the whole mess: the sand hisses, her hand
spreads, clear & eddied. It will be 2000 years until
museum), & nearly 4000 before sheet glass in 1902.
women: one marvels at their wholeness, except for an ear
mostly wine. They stumble home. Were there
bulb burning out. In the darkness of the stairwell
a history of accidents too, accidents that have yet to happen.
(originally appeared inThe Nation)
a headword in Webster’s Tenth New Collegiate Dictionary for which there is no entry.
Like God, like Adam at first:
Her mouth, her teeth, that could sever
Enough. With her I unearth myself and find
Of the 414,825 words defined in the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, bondmaid was the only one lost. Found long after the fascicle Battentlie-Bozzom was published, it appeared in a supplement which came out in 1933.
Why do I picture you as blind?
who ran through the streets
sound from the scraps of paper,
like you, others who would flee.
and in how many ways have you
The ancient priests of the tribe of Levi say:
[thou shalt buy them of the heathen around you].
[And whosoever lieth carnally
and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall
The two Scots don’t say much, silenced by Shakespeare
recites a tale of two brothers, one who was rauisht of his owne bondmaide.
who ravishes instead of being the feast. He says
contribute four words to your delineation:
also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy]
of the bondmaid’s role in books of kings.
And last, never sleeping, is Paul, sick and always writing letters, this one
that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other
But he who was of the bondwoman was born
near, he lists for you the manifest works of the flesh:
the words are piling up, wrapping around you like wet wool
as he draws nearer, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings,
you can breathe for a moment; he turns his face
The apostle has said that in Christ there is neither male nor female,
How many of us would have to believe for it to be true?
are running, but like a...bond-maid
(originally appeared in The Southern Review in a slightly altered version)
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Last Updated: Tue, June 27, 2006
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