As a countdown to the release of the first issue of our 100th volume on December 14th, we will be posting pieces every day from previous issues over the years. Our first piece was written by Mary Morris, who went on to earn the Rome Prize in Literature and publish many novels, memoirs, and story collections. She now teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College.
by Mary Morris
Those dark nights when the men
slept on the ground beside the Andalusian women; their hair like black fire blazing a snowy cliff
like a raging serpent coiled to strike
tossed upon the ground and sliding down
naked backs of olive skin. And the men
drunken and wild knew they were women
only by the touch of soft skin
and the touch of black hair
in their calloused hands.
In the morning when the dawn was grey
and the mist was still heavy, the women
wander down the path to the shore
to wash their feet and dab salt upon their cheeks.
They watch a gull soar and dive for its foods
then soar again as they in the dark night had soared
and dived then soared again laughing at the men in their heat. They did not wash the men off their bodies
nor the smell of tobacco from their hair.
They only washed the feet and when they felt chaste,
pure and white again, when they had rubbed the coarse
sand over their feet and legs and then rinsed again
and again in the calm green sea, when the gull had come
and gone and the mist was gone, the women returned to the men.
from Vol. 53 (1973)