by Jen Mehan
Hallingdal Museum, Norway
They say she outlived the plague,
that for two years she floated
above farm only to burrow
in wild piles of grain, wax thread,
her mother’s old clothes.
That she was the only to survive,
her only respite the tunnel to church
where she could kneel and find sun
between the stave church cracks
where the ballblom flower now grows.
They didn’t say her father bruised
her inner arms when he shoved her
inside, that her candles ran thin
after six months, that the scratches
of rat claws at the wooden foundation
reminded her of the plagued palms
begging entrance. What they didn’t say—
when a group of soldiers came
for wild berries and goats and found her,
she couldn’t unfurl herself, too used
to her small path. That she forgot language.
That she walked over the bodies,
trying to remember the colors of their cloth
or eyes before the sun bleached them.
About the Author
Jen Mehan holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Miami. She has edited various journals and magazines, served as an intern for the Joe Milford Poetry Show, and attended poetry classes at Georgia Tech and the Sarah Lawrence College Summer Seminars for Writers. She is an avid crafter, baker, and bookmaker.