March 5, 2017

Three Poems by Katelin Rice: "I am Eve," "12.22.12," and "Basements"

Katelin Rice is a middle-school English teacher. Her brand of feminism was reborn with her first child and continues to evolve as she wends her way through the cornfields in her small-town home. When she's not teaching, directing middle school musicals, writing poetry, reading excellent literature, or taking care of her son, she enjoys sporting overalls, cooking, and doing yoga.

I am Eve

Remember being in the garden,
Naked? With all of your ribs?
Nothing but motherless creatures
Confined to a lustless paradise.

God created life, you named it,
While purpose slept in my womb.
Only one of me, and only one
Of you. Time ticking in Eden.

Demonic, phallic—snake:
An escape charmed me,
And hummed to the womanly
Parts of my consciousness.

I was your ruin, painted
In words as “ugly sin”.
Inferior, unintelligent—human:
Drained by the juice of forbidden fruit.

I am not Lilith, made from your dirt,
Bird-footed in back-alleys and bathtubs.
I am the gift--they call me the weaker sister,
Sent to serve, mind, and age.

I’m the first slave, born venom-lipped
And starving. My existence--transgression.
Mother of the first birth and first death--
First murderer and first victim.

I am the Goddess of life as we know it.
Today, I create everything.
Motherhood, brotherhood—all mine:
Held by my body, released as light.

I know our world came to an end

                            as of yesterday.

But thank you for the warm yellowness
Of your light in the dark of the last days.
I woke this morning and ate
My oatmeal in the dust of us;
Barefeet cold on the hardwood
And wintered floors.

Whether time is the sameness in size
Of the empty squares of our paper calendars,
Or lunar phases that reflect the same
On the retina of each Mayan’s eye,

You let our’s leak through the V’s
Of your tightly laced fingers,
Until there was none.

Our word came to an end

                       as of yesterday.

And you.

                      You could have saved it.


My best memories are buried in basements.
Where light only leaks in through horizontal
Half-windows, like the one where you
Left the fern to die.

The first basement was mine.

Four freshly painted white walls
Bordered a gray tile square,
And a closet loomed by the back wall
Containing the robes I would outgrow.

The second basement was ours.
The carpet was stained
Before we got there, placed
A mattress on the floor,
And called it home.

I awoke every morning,
Stepped into puddles made
Of last night’s rain, and ate
Flapjacks you flipped that
Got thinner by the day.

The last time I sunk
Down that narrow staircase,
Stumbling (I always missed
The last step) I heaved,
Under the weight of the house above me.

You only loved me in basements,
Underground, entombed by dirt, and
Untouched by light, but kept
Warm by the Earth.

(An earlier draft of this poem was published in the anthology "Poets of Madison County," available on Amazon.)  

© Katelin Rice

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