Sister / Witness


I once was a bottle rocket. I once
was a haystack-caught-fire. I once
was a girl-body waiting for the sign
to sprint.

when she was 18
my K died one morning
they told
my mother / first



I have learned that to exit
the womb is not a promise.
I have learned to be a sister
& an unswept room. listen:
every girlbody will come to be
baptized, reborn.

a mother should know when
her girlchild / her firstborn
has come to learn the gutshot of death.
my K was a firstborn / my K
was a match-just-lit.


my sister & I have both wept.
we have both been girlbodies-born-again.
we have both come to see the endlessness
of a shared name / of a firstborn / of the second coming

the day K died / it was morning
& I was swift to my knees
all stomach / all
eyeballs / all heat
my sister called me, stricken



and this shall be a sign unto you:
how the youngest holy girlchild
strikes the eldest into being


how I am only made first
by deliverance of the second


Maggie Woodward is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Mississippi, where she serves as Senior Editor of the Yalobusha Review & coordinates the Trobar Ric Reading Series with poet Marty Cain. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming from Rust + Moth, Sugared Water Magazine, Axolotl Magazine, & Poemeleon, among others. You can find her on the world wide web at & on Twitter @maggie_eliz.