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2018 Poetry

Amanda Bales

THE GODS WHO MADE US

We sorrow pretty to men. We pleasure a danger. We learned this young
on Baptist pews. Mary beatific. Delilah grotesque. Most others not even named,
this one’s mother, that one’s wife. These are the stories we gained, we girls,
while we prayed, we hymned, we itched crinoline, we terrified our bodies
tempted boys to sin. Our virtue, our worth. The same refrain we heard
in boot stomp count-offs and mouth harp moans, our halos honky-tonk
rhinestones we shined while we good-hearted and cried in the rain,
each verse and three-chord truth more lies to keep us tamed.


Amanda Bales received her MFA from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Her work has appeared in The Nashville Review, Raleigh Review, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. She lives in central Illinois. @amanda_bales