Epitaph

For this she starred her eyes with salt
And scooped her temples thin,
Until her face shone pure of fault
From the forehead to the chin.

In coldest crucibles of pain
Her shrinking flesh was fired
And smoothed into a finer grain
To make it more desired.

Pain left her lips more clear than glass;
It colored and cooled her hand.
She lay a field of scented grass
Yielded as pasture land.

For this her loveliness was curved
And carved as silver is:
For this she was brave: but she deserved
A better grave than this.

Elinor Wylie, “Epitaph” from Selected Works of Elinor Wylie, edited by Evelyn Helmick Hively. Used with the permission of The Kent State University Press, http://upress.kent.edu/books/Hively2.htm.
Source: Selected Works of Elinor Wylie (Kent State University Press, 2005)
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