Relic

By Rachel Richardson Rachel Richardson
The first time I touched it,
cloth fell under my fingers,
the frail white folds
softened, demure. No burn,

no combustion at the touch of skin.
It sat, silent, like any other contents
of any other box: photographs
of the dead, heirloom jewels.

Exposed to thin windowlight it is
exactly as in movies:
a long gown, and where a chest
must have breathed, a red cross

crossed over. The crown, I know,
waits underneath, the hood with eyes
carefully stitched open, arch cap
like a bishop’s, surging to its point.

Poem copyright ©2011 by Rachel Richardson from her most recent book of poems, Copperhead, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2011. Poem reprinted by permission of Rachel Richardson and the publisher.

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Poet Rachel Richardson

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

 Rachel   Richardson

Biography

Poet Rachel Richardson was born and raised in Berkeley, California. She earned a BA at Dartmouth College, an MFA at the University of Michigan, and an MA in folklore at the University of North Carolina.
 
The author of the poetry collection Copperhead (2011), Richardson’s poetry investigates the disjunctions of remembered and recorded history. Discussing the overlap between her method of poetic composition and her graduate . . .

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POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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