"In Orbit", a poem by Amanda Williams
Again she turns her thoughts to a marriage
that was a prize open to all—why would any woman
want better than him, perfect lines of bone
and skin like untroubled water, not even a thread
of anger in a brow that never tangles. Motivation
in spades, working overtime at the office
or turning up the garden’s earth, an expert planter
both of lettuces and the raw matter of children.
A prize open to all—any woman could have tilted
for him, claimed him with a running start, or crept
slowly into the corners of his dazzle-eyes. A prize
certainly for her, whose luck is always absent;
as a child, she was always short a trophy.
As a woman, she is short on money, gas,
but she is full of him. Again she turns her thoughts
to a marriage which her mother wholly endorses,
thinking that this is her big chance to hear
the tinkling and thunder of grandchildren.
A marriage—like a spoil of some war
for which young people are constantly called
to take up their beaten arms. Like an illuminated sign
over the door of your modest home, which tells
all who enter that you have not failed, you send
your own cards at Christmas, you have learned to cook,
to mend, to rise, to reckon. You are not alone.
Again she turns her thoughts—again, she turns.
Amanda Williams is an MFA Creative Writing student at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. She is the recipient of a Jackson Fellowship, and will serve as a Hollins Teaching Fellow for the 2015-2016 academic year, instructing undergraduate students in creative writing. Amanda received BA degrees in English Literature and Theatre Arts from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL, and spent a year abroad at the University of Oxford. Her poems have been published in Artemis, a Journal for Artists and Writers from the Blue Ridge Region and Beyond and Mistake House Magazine, and are forthcoming in the Red Truck Review and Cactus Heart Magazine. Amanda is also the author of two plays, Strip of the Tongue and Hysterical Affections, both of which explore issues of female sexuality, womanhood, and the resiliency of the female spirit.