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“But beauty wasn’t enough.”
 – Gretchen Marquette

Nurturing as a kestrel checking your sheets for mice        I am a woman  designed.   Because  I   was   designed
       it follows that I was crafted with intention. Because I possess the acrid sin of intent          I am barred forever from the vault of essentialism. Because I have no access to the vault I can never achieve your biological legitimacy. Because spring will arrive I will not despair
over illegitimacy. Nor will I aspire to beauty any longer. Because I refuse to aspire the vault will forget any inklings of guilt it possessed. Because the vault holds itself blameless as a weapon
we women designed will proliferate run rampant like mares through fenceless pasture. Because more women will design themselves from the playplace of femurs and ribs which carries them there will be an increase in the general stock of agony. Because to design oneself is an agony. Because to design is agony each summer I will wilt under my own weight. Because design is agony fall will drape itself around my neck like a scarf of blood feathers. Because design is agony spring will walk backwards into me as one would into a hill of snow. 


Note: "But beauty wasn't enough" is a line from Gretchen Marquette's poem "Song for the Festival," which appears in her collection May Day, published by Graywolf Press (2016). The line in this poem which reads, "because spring will / arrive i will not despair over illegitimacy" borrows from the ultimate lines of Marquette's poem, which read, "Spring has arrived. / Let me not despair."

image: Catherine Sinow