I knew a woman when I saw one, though

          after Alexander McQueen and Virginia Woolf
I knew a woman when I saw one, though
not, as they said, in the usual way (laughs). I saw
the skeleton beneath, opened my eyes,
which had seen only my thoughts,
and thought the sky good to eat. I became
methodical as nature. These selves of which we
build ourselves up – noble, humane, greedy,
vicious – too many for nothing. I had
the look of innocence, though technically
the word no longer applied (laughs again). I embroidered
orchards, made damask bloom and fade, more
auroral than the white sun as it sank,
so that s/he could breathe, I am alive. Each
time, an evening we made so astonishing.

Valerie Wallace’s work was selected by Margaret Atwood for the 2012 Atty Award, and has been supported most recently by the Illinois Arts Council, Ragdale Foundation, Midwest Writers Center, San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference, and the Vermont Studio Center. She teaches workshops and classes in Chicago, and is an editor with RHINO and advisory board member for the Afghan Women's Writing Project. Her chapbook The Dictators’ Guide to Good Housekeeping is available from dancinggirlpress.