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About this Poem 

“This mighty, ethereal, unbreakable being appeared to me in a dream. She is part girl, part magic, making herself up in order to survive.”
Melissa Studdard

Respect

Because her body is winter inside a cave
because someone built
fire there and forgot to put it out
because bedtime is a castle
she’s building inside herself
with a moat
and portcullis
and buckets full of mist
because when you let go
the reins
horses
tumble over cliffs and turn
into moths before hitting bottom
because their hooves leave streaks of midnight
in the sky
because stuffed rabbits
are better at keeping secrets
than stopping hands
because when the world got
shoved up inside her
she held it tight like a kegel ball
and wondered
at the struggle Atlas had
carrying such a tiny thing
on his back

Copyright © 2015 by Melisa Studdard. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 24, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Melisa Studdard. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 24, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Melissa Studdard

Melissa Studdard

Melissa Studdard is the author of I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast (Saint Julian Press, 2014). She teaches at Lone Star College-Tomball and lives in Houston, Texas.