Encountering Marianna Pineda’s “Eve Celebrant”
in deCordova Sculpture Park
As though she burst from earth’s belly fully formed
Eve strides boldly across the hillside
raised foot making air a solid step
certainty in her clairvoyant gaze
she offers two gestures of counsel
One hand tenders a pomegranate
jewel of possibility
She thrusts her other arm forward
hand upturned to say
Do not pass by before you consider
that you will know sweet juice and ruby-bitter seed
You too were wax
molded for beauty’s sake
cast in strength
Miss all mystery if you impose a snake
Celebrate what you cannot predict
Designs for Life
When my mother roused her treadle to sew, I flew
to my dress-ups to don the dress she was married in--
eyelet, the color of heliopsis. She greeted me
the southern way, as Missus, and spooled out questions
I used to stitch my stories cut from clouds
she billowed with fulsome aah’s and is that so’s
she used when other housewives came to chat.
From ingenuity and the fabric of circumstance,
we improvised our days. Later, while on a hike,
a handsome stranger and I pieced together
scraps of conversation that we quilted into love.
Now he is gone and I grow old, asking
what new fancies will arise?
What dress will daybreak wear to play with day?
My saints spoke to me of my body, too.
Strong. A boy’s muscularity.
The stamina of a woman in labor.
A maid, yes,
then out of bounds of my estate.
After I walked many leagues, for months,
all bleeding stopped.
Instead of babes,
I would bear armor.
My breasts molded to brace
Legs poised to guide my horse.
Out of reach of hungry, tired,
My men calling me small
only made me smile.
What is small?
Dreams cut down by limitation.
Horizons that end with sight--
Why not seek the King?
Still, it was never just about winning
but some theurgy in motion.
I was made to cross over.
The flames, the ire of paltry men.
Merryn Rutledge’s poems have appeared widely, for example, in Pure Slush, Open Door, Speckled Trout Review, and Mass Poetry’s “Hard Work of Hope” series. A poetry collection is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. Merryn has taught literature and creative writing, run a US-based leadership development consulting firm, and continues to work for social justice causes. She teaches poetry craft, writes poetry book reviews for several journals, sings, and dances from her home near Boston, USA.