Plain China

Miriam's Song

by Bailey Spencer · Boston College
Untitled, Rebecca White · Bennington College

Named bitter, I reach for sycamore,

thirst for fig sugar and honey wine,


salve for mortar-coated lips. Always

my hand is pushed away, tied to the loom


by chains of desert-wind-whipped hair.

At the river I gather reeds: blood beetle,


I bow to Nile spittle and choke on copper

dust gone blue. Prophecy, I think, when


I prick my finger. Squeeze: coax

beads of red to harden like pharaoh’s


jewels and whisper to a basket drawn

downstream. It is the year the threads are


stained and I feed dates to the rapids, hope

my brother stays sweet.

About the Author

Bailey Spencer · Boston College

The poems of recent graduate Bailey Spencer have been published in The Laughing Medusa, Pure Francis, and elsewhere. She was raised on lakes and wild blueberries in Michigan. Her poem first appeared in Boston College’s journal, Stylus.

About the Artist

Rebecca White · Bennington College

Rebecca was on the road with a few friends traveling to Montreal when they decided to have a spur-of-the-moment stop in Elizabeth Town. They had no idea about the land they were going to encounter. Photographing friends in the nude against a scenic landscape is something that continues to interest Rebecca. Her photo was first featured in Bennington’s journal, Silo.