Beth Mead is a Professor of Writing and Director of the MFA in Writing Program at Lindenwood University. She is the editor of The Lindenwood Review literary journal, now in its tenth year. Beth received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is the author of the story collection Dancing Madly (Adelaide Books 2019) -- excerpts and blurbs are available at dancingmadly.blogspot.com. Beth won the Jim Haba Poetry Award and was an Honorable Mention in the River Styx MicroFiction Contest. Her work has appeared in NoiseMedium, Fiction Weekly, Mid Rivers Review, Foliate Oak, Adelaide Literary Journal, and elsewhere.
This is fine. This all will be fine. Perhaps now
I'll stand, arms open, on a rainy Paris day, thinking of things
that are not you.
You never wanted to see Paris, I know. You only said that
to make me want you.
Now I think I will take a class, a figure-drawing class,
spend hours studying bodies at arm's reach,
pencil their curves and lines, touch them in a way
you never touched me.
You told me I could not draw. I know, I'm no artist,
I realize that.
I feel fine. Like the fine in fine wine. Or the fine of fine china,
see-through fragile, yet solid enough to hold something
When you held me, it was after I sucked you dry, before you slept
heavily in dreams of others.
I look at a woman on the sidewalk now, and I see her
like you must have--how her hip shapes the skirt, how the skirt slips
between her legs.
I think now I will change my name. Not just my last name, that name
that is you, but my first name. I will be Scarlet, I think. Or maybe Violet.
I know I will be a color.
When you gave me your name, I wrapped myself inside it like an egg
in tissue paper. I drew the curve of the R for hours.
Winner, 2010 Jim Haba Poetry Award
Previously published in Mid Rivers Review Volume 11