The Virgin Mary Burns a Self-Portrait in Toast
I imagine the churches, their
pageants, their individual respective
marys, wearing blue
atop pale skin. I pulled this strip
of barbed wire out of my bare heel
after a walk across the lawn. I tap it
with my finger, and chip away
another crumb. I think
of these midwestern marys, so
very new, like crisp corn. Maybe a strand
of hair peeks out from a white head covering,
and it’s blonde, always blonde, or maybe
with a touch of strawberry,
like that willowy girl in Missouri who at sixteen is cast
as Mary for Christmas while her older sister, two inches shorter,
thirty-five pounds heavier, with auburn hair kept pixie cut,
picks with her fingernails at a wart on her right thumb.
I laugh, imagining them,
as I twist the wire,
burn my face darker
. into coarse bread.
About the Poet
Anna D. Ralls is an emerging writer from Columbia, MO. She is a graduate student at Oxford University, and her works are forthcoming or previously published in Contrary, Atticus, and Colorado Review. She currently lives in Bloomington, IN, and loves to spend her spare time singing opera with her husband.