Portrait of Harriet
Since he asks, she’ll turn to him--
though she longs to look away,
to scan her book in hand.
Her cheeks flush with what it takes.
She feels her lips pressed close,
latched gate to the interior.
How strange to find oneself fifteen!
This volume may yet tell her
that thing she’ll recognize, then know
what it is to occupy a self--
its darkness sleek and fitted, hers alone.
It wracks her, to be only beloved,
a daughter, in a rich house. And he--
he can tell her nothing.
She won’t even ask. She won’t speak
of the draft that tickles
the snow slope of her shoulders
as she quivers, imagining the passing
of a hand that’s not yet there.
Anne Myles is Professor Emerita at the University of Northern Iowa, where she specialized in early American literature. She recently received her MFA in poetry at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has appeared in the North American Review, Split Rock Review, Whale Road Review, Lavender Review, and other journals. She lives in Waterloo, Iowa.
The Ekphrastic Review
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