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The Minister's Daughter

By Elizabeth Cox
Homewords: A Book of Tennessee Writers

They tell me
the minister's daughter
is beautiful. Men call to her
from the road. She answers
back, pinned to her chair,
fluffing her hair in the light,
her dress undone at the waist.
She will not walk in her sleep,
or in her own lifetime.

She stares down the long valley,
and admits to herself, she wants
to do the most outrageous thing.
In the number of years she has left,
to lift one heavy foot and put it
like a fist into the ground.
She wants to stop the old couples
from coming to the house, stop
them from bringing loaves,

handing them like small
birds about to be crushed.
When she goes in to dinner,
her body is carried, her legs
hang over her father's arm,
not like a lover,
not with the promise of something to come,
but proper, like an ant
carrying another ant's head.