Able Muse / Eratosphere Sonnet Bake-Off, 2013 ▪ Finalist
— From “The Baby and the Bathwater”
Let it go, let it all go down the drain—
Ash from the crossroads where a witch was burned,
Dirt from the cellar where a queen was slain,
No heir escaping death, and nothing learned,
The crescent moons of darkness under nails,
Ditch-digger’s drops of sweat, the blood from soil
That sprouted fingertips, the slick from snails
Glinting on butchered peasants left to spoil:
Let it swirl, let it all swirl down the drain—
Let murderous grime be curlicues to gyre
Around the blackened mouth, let mortal bane
Be gulped, and waste be drink for bole and briar.
Here’s a new-washed babe; marvel what man mars,
The flesh so innocent it gleams like stars.