Without Armature

I have become a woman
who weeps from eyes
cut like cowrie shells,
the lids pulled apart,
the tomb between them
empty. I have not
lashes but small teeth,
white and parted and ready
to trap darkness, the irony
being that I am bound
and bowed by my own
ghosts, spirits to whom
I hold my arms high
in perpetual offering:
a penance for my sins.
I offer cotton and women’s
things. I undulate
in a cage of lace.

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About the Author

Jan Edwards Hemming holds an MFA in Poetry from NYU and a BA in English from LSU. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Los Angeles Review of Books Blog and elsewhere, and her poems “Bird” and "Oven" were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She teaches creative writing in New Orleans, where she lives with her wife and two cats.