Linda

by Pilar Stewart

Texas is hot red dirt
plastered hard
and dry heat rattling.
Linda remembers seeing 
rattlesnakes—ripe poison 
huddled with her
in the storm cellar; it was a choice
between the snake
and the storm.
She talks of Baptist
ministers,
sweat stained collars,
heavy hand on the Bible, 
speaking of damnation. 
In Texas
hell could be believed;
a child would burn
the soles of her feet
walking this land.
You wonder: What
could such a land nurture 
and what would it choose 
to let grow?
In this flat, hard place 
women are soft-drawled, 
demure, plump—
but hard wire behind the eyes. 
Linda rebelled, grew
angular thin
with soft, clear eyes.
You imagine them
sweeping the horizon
creating trees and hills.
And from her hands grew
paintings,
soft exposures of lush blue 
that wash over your eyes and 
satisfy like cold water.
And always she paints angels—
angular angels—
in a lush land
walking barefoot.

Pilar Stewart is an English major from Hamden, Connecticut. Her poetry has previously appeared in Inscape.