audio: Waterborne
audio of Marly Youmans's poem, Waterborne

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Able Muse / Eratosphere Sonnet Bake-Off, 2013 ▪ Finalist

Marly Youmans



         — From “The Baby and the Bathwater”


    Let it go, let it all go down the drain—
    Ash from the crossroads where a witch was burned,
    Dirt from the cellar where a queen was slain,
    No heir escaping death, and nothing learned,

    The crescent moons of darkness under nails,
    Ditch-digger’s drops of sweat, the blood from soil
    That sprouted fingertips, the slick from snails
    Glinting on butchered peasants left to spoil:

    Let it swirl, let it all swirl down the drain—
    Let murderous grime be curlicues to gyre
    Around the blackened mouth, let mortal bane
    Be gulped, and waste be drink for bole and briar.

    Here’s a new-washed babe; marvel what man mars,
    The flesh so innocent it gleams like stars.