Samantha Pious

Body Geography

I’ve charted maps but never marked a path
through my terrain. Brush, foul winds,
volcanic blasts, and monthly tidal waves—
all sent my settlers scrambling for their ships!
The wild wet jungle hid a dark damp cave
where someone, once, had sheltered from the storms
and priests, imagining those tremors meant
their God was dying, no one would be saved,
inscribed the walls with purple prophecies
which (rightly read) foretell frigidity.
One heretic, in soft red hieroglyphs,
she warns of crows’ feet, moles, and spider veins
before the birds and bees begin to breed.
Who knows what demons haunt those headland cliffs?

Samantha Pious is studying for a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Her first book, A Crown of Violets (Headmistress Press, 2015), offers a selection of translations from the French poetry of Renée Vivien. Some of her poems and translations have appeared in Adrienne, Berkeley Poetry Review, Lavender Review, Mezzo Cammin, and other publications.