Meg Wade

Young Cotton

I flood as there is no one left
to swim to—chipped polish

skirt lifted, my soft shoulder
pushed hard against the dead

hemlock tree, please god don’t see
anything besides flesh wet purpose

when you float your thirsty
hands around my trusting

neck—I tell you I want them
there—yes—don’t stop—

harder—the light finally breaks

when I open my mouth. Hose
ripped in two different places.

A sinful woman washed Christ’s feet,
dried them with her hair, imagine

all the ways a pair of country knees
can worship their way home. Witness

the black earth of my eyes, my violent
fanfare, this young cotton all red

stemmed and blanketing the field.
Deliverance begins with the body

and sweeps outward. Please don’t
let me go to Heaven alone.

Meg Wade is a former Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin’s Creative Writing Institute. She has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, and served as Assistant Editor for an anthology of contemporary, rural American poetry titled, Hick Poetics (Lost Roads Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pinwheel, Linebreak, Nashville Review, Hobart, and Whiskey Island, among others. She tweets at @tennessee_me, but lives and writes in Nashville, Tennessee.