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/elizabeth austen

Eve, Obedient

She buries the apple under the embers. To allow the aroma to sugar her nostrils— that would be enough.

Her gaze settles on grooves worn into the boards, perpendicular to the grain—a kind of disarray

she cannot sweep or mop away. One square of light on the floor: that will clean itself up

given time. Out on the road, trucks gorged with commerce and ambition. She hears but does not heed them.

What use is a doorway?

No one knocks. No one crosses. How long must she wait to stir the embers? A faint

sweetness escapes the woodstove. Perhaps she only imagines the sudden water filling her mouth.

Eve, Gardening in Her Nightgown

Lamplight on the peonies, buds like packed parachutes, waiting for spring to pull the cord. Night air wakes me from winter’s lullaby. Lent

is over at last and the trowel in my hand— thrust into mud— turns out to be a pen.

Elizabeth Austen‘s poems have appeared in journals including New England Review, Poetry Northwest and Willow Springs. Austen served as the Washington State poet laureate from 2014 to 2016, and her collection Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press) is now in its fourth printing.

Illustration by Aliya Smith.

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