Covetousness an Education in Itself

Rachel Custer


Some girls are born knowing how         

the perfect calligraphy
of their eyebrows                    their fairytale faces         

the ballroom-banter-perfected oh’s of their lips     

what I know of beauty could fill a bucket
of hog slop                   if it was overflowing

what I know of hog slop         is there is always somebody         
who will answer the dinner-bell           

invitation in the flared lift of her nose          

and is that faith                 or just an admission?        
our most basic desire to be consumed        

when she was still too young                to recognize her face
in a mirror                     I gave my daughter a lemon wedge     

and saw her find a deep well in the forest of herself             
its water awaiting the copper coins

of her eyes        a wish is so often the other side
of a fear                  some girls lie to themselves

and call it dreaming                  I lie to myself and call it brave    

maybe this all happened            when God closed his eyes
and spun the globe         planted the point of his pencil where it stopped             

then dropped us like stones         into the well of the world        
if I’m honest with myself            I’ll never know how

to blend my face toward pretty            but here I am         
still perched like a bucket           on the edge of a well          

telling myself it’s a tunnel               and surely
            where there’s a tunnel there must be light


Rachel Custer's first full-length collection, The Temple She Became, is available from Five Oaks Press. Other work has previously been published or is forthcoming in Rattle, The American Journal of Poetry, B O D Y, [PANK], and DIALOGIST, among others.