Jan/Feb 2001  •   Poetry

Her Story in Parts

by Annie Woodford


If needed the whole thing can be
taken apart and hauled away.
Fitted together with pegs, you see.
But you can't-the whole is smoother than the parts.
There are no seams,
no way to know how it's made
until you break it down.



A fruit not to be stored but eaten
right away. Organdy leaves
will try to hide their ware
but you have a good eye.
The outside is callused,
each square cell dovetailed
so neatly they form
a globe. Sit in the dirt.
Let her cut you
an orange slice with her kitchen knife.
Today's newspaper is spread underneath.
The seeds are sharp eye teeth.



Smiles show incisors, a brutal glint
revealed by soft lips.

There were garden
rows she would follow.
One day she fell asleep
to the creak of aged wood.
For a long time she couldn't be
found. Now, she must meet
this, she must give
her heart completely
until the next time.

Sound the stem
check for signs
of mellowness
in the inscrutable skin.



Her mother's hair
was still caught
in the tines-
weak yellow thread
too thin for a healthy
person's head.

Slide the doors out,
lay them to the side.
The back comes off
with a turn of wooden
slats, just like that,
and light shines through.
Do you know her
yet? The loss
last Easter-

that familiar body
made unfamiliar
by baldness,
the lunge
of the soul
when it's ready.

Spring came
after all, you saw soon
it grew hot.
She cut her hair
and started
collecting envelopes
of seeds, patted out
furrows with her feet.
She buried lettuce seeds
more delicate than eyelashes,
pumpkin nails
in mounded beds.
How energy passes,
how dirt
can transform
is what concerns her.
Completely, yes,

In the fall
the cantaloupes
She saved the seeds, cleaned
her combs outside
for the birds to use.