The Woman Who Is to be Sawn in Half Reveals the Secret of Her Dying Art

Sue Burton Click to

sue_burtonSue D. Burton was apprenticeship-trained as a Physician Assistant at the Vermont Women's Health Center and has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. Her poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Green Mountains, Hayden's Ferry Review, New Ohio Review, Water~Stone Review, and on Verse Daily.

contort yourself, my dear, into the container —
into your contraption — do a little shape-change

like my mother who at the wake became her coffin
(at which I’d stared and stared so as not to think of her inside)

roses my offering on her lid
petals, jars

(the poem as self-storage unit)

(O they will conflate you
with her smile, painted or not)

but here’s a secret — a woodcutter, a wolf,
the history of clinging to innocence in America

and another — the heartbeat inside the chest

(believe it: the illusion of art everlasting)

(the coffin your friend)