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March 9, 2010

by Heidi Hart

after a song collected by Alfonso X de Castille (1221-1284)

Press your face to the earth. The Glorious One
will pass by in the night, she who brings

the dead to life again, she who straightens
out the broken limbs. Listen, pilgrim girl,

she’ll break your backwards feet while you
are fast asleep. Did you expect your healing

to be painless? No, you’ll cry out.
You’ll think you are dying. And your father

will not see the visitor who works your soles
like clay. Pilgrim girl, press your face

closer to the earth, the ground you’ll walk
for the first time, forever, circling the world

until the day you are too tired to walk
and lie down, crying out, waiting for the Holy

Mother to appear and break your body
backwards, snap you free into the blessed dark.

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Heidi Hart holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her published work includes the memoir Grace Notes: The Waking of a Woman’s Voice (University of Utah Press, 2004) and the four-poet collection Edge by Edge (Toadlily Press, 2007). She is a singer and voice teacher who also teaches creative writing at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

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  1. March 11, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Oh, this is wonderful! Wild, but pleasurably disciplined. Weird, but somehow familiar. So resonant of medieval and romanesque images, but very modern.

  2. tori ellison
    April 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Another gorgeous poem, Heidi!

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