The Clutch

by Marielle Prince

How the nest was never empty,
though her limbs’ brittling
made the sound of searching in the twigs.

How we readied the hollow for her body,
for the memory of her silvering to braid itself
into our stomachs, where it could unravel.

How it was not a dream when I
pulled a strand of her hair from my throat,
as if another needle-boned song.

How I was not ashamed when I
wrapped it around my finger, twisted it
into a quilter’s knot, and swallowed it again.

She imagined we left long ago;
we had to return the favor.

MARIELLE PRINCE is a poet and editor in Charlottesville, Virginia. She spent several years as managing editor of Bull City Press (Durham, NC) and has also worked as poetry editor for Meridian and Count Intern for VIDA. She received her MFA from the University of Virginia, and her poems have appeared in journals such as 32 PoemsThe CollagistThe Greensboro ReviewLuminaShenandoahTupelo Quarterly and Waccamaw.