The Preacher's Daughter Studies Her Reflection
by Lisa Parker

She stands before the full-length mirror
hanging on the back of the bathroom door.
Thirteen years old and she can see 
the breasts that will come heavy, the curse
of Eve that lies somewhere between legs
and neck.  When she lifts her skirt,
bares herself to her reflection, she sees the place
her mother covers with a washrag
when she bathes her.  The slightest lift
of one leg and she can see the edges
of vermilion sin, the folded over place
her mother says can never be closed again
once it’s unlocked.  She can envision
it flinging open at the slightest provocation
of curious fingers, the prying of a wicked,
would-be woman.

She runs her fingers across the underside of breasts, 
feels the way they fit against her ribs, 
that smallest rib a gift from God. 
Did he wrench it from Adam’s side 
or break it out tenderly, knowing 
how bone and flesh would swell, curve 
to the taunting lift of breast, 
turn his prize against him?

After church, she walks the mountainsides
until she finds a crevice,
indistinct and dark, to hide the push
and pull of her body,
and slips herself deep into the musk
of some other animal’s den. 

Lisa Parker is a writer, musician and photographer with roots in Buchanan, Virginia. Her collection of poems, This Gone Place (MotesBooks, 2010) won the 2010 Weatherford Award for Poetry. Her work appears in numerous literary journals and magazines, including Southern Poetry Review, Parnassus, Appalachian Heritage, Kudzu, and the last six editions of the Bedford/St Martin’s anthologies Introduction to Literature, Poetry: An Introduction, and Literature On the Go. She received the Randall Jarrell Prize in Poetry, the National Allen Tate Memorial Prize, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. Recently her poetry was the centerpiece for a musical program with Broadway and opera singers in Manhattan called "Through the Storm: from Appalachian Songs to Arias.”

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