Sacred Bodies

Emily Bartholet

At the heart of Virginia, there is clay - 
red silk streaming down a hillside,
unveiling arrowheads after a storm
and staining the quartz a smooth, dull orange.
I build myself a body in this place.
Hickory for a backbone; my nose, a mountain laurel,
and pebbles where I want my joints to turn.
My sternum is borrowed from a fox -
her lower jaw, with teeth still sharp for snapping.
I place it between damp, red arcs of earth
then cover those with layers of sturdy treeskin.

I set my new body down at the base of the tree
under which, in a different life, I buried a dog.
Her fur pushes through the earth. I weave it
into loops that are then stuffed
into little brown acorn helmets.
These become my eyes, and I light them
with a pair of firefly bodies.


about the writer


Emily Bartholet is a highly caffeinated student at Dickinson College, where she wishes she could major in everything. When she's not studying, she can usually be found writing under a tree, or, when it rains, curled up in a beloved coffee shop. Her poetry has appeared online and in print, most notably in Third Point Press, Half Mystic, Inklette, and Rat's Ass Review's Love and Ensuing Madness collection.