The Following Was Taken exclusively from As It Ought To Beis the award-winning author of three collections of poetry, including her latest book, In the Palms of Angels (Press 53), winner of a 2012 Nautilus Silver Award in Poetry and the Gold Medal for Poetry in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the 2013 Poet’s Market, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, JAMA, The Christian Science Monitor, storySouth, and many other publications. She lives in North Carolina.
By Terri Kirby Erickson
Her knees nearly buckle with the weight of a new star,
but oh the sweet relief when one of them falls or when
the sun pulls up its rays like rope ladders because light,
even light is too heavy for her to carry now. And look
at her loose grip on the baby’s stroller, as if any minute
she might let go. Other mothers’ eyes follow their children,
glisten like the wet clay of a newly fashioned Madonna,
but her expression never changes. She sees nothing but
the dull, brown jar where she spends her days alone, its
walls slick and impossible to climb, the lid screwed shut—
feels nothing but cold glass against her back, the tightening
in her chest when she tries to breathe what little air is left.
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