Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

"Shadow Sampler"

Ashley McWaters grew up in Memphis. Her work has appeared in DIAGRAM, Painted Bride Quarterly, Hunger Mountain, and Northwest Review, among others. Her debut book of poetry, Whitework, twice a finalist for the National Poetry Series, explores sewing as synecdoche for the whole of women’s work. McWaters teaches at the University of Alabama, where she directs the undergraduate creative writing program. She will read from Whitework at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis on May 22 at 1 p.m.

Shadow Sampler

Her salt. Shed skin of her penultimate love.
Her best little black dress. White of her hunger,
bubble climbing to the top. How it began
with red. Her folded napkin, her careful lap.
Waxing forth of her fingers, pendulum slosh
of water legs. All the teeth. Astrolabe.
Trajectory of thread she left behind. Back
of a transparent material. Her little feet,
little iambs. Holy moment. Tinfoil afternoons
at origami. Her second language, French
for What if I can’t say it? French for It glows.
Enough blue in the borders. Stitches to show
on the front as shadows. Cloth pelted to look
like the print of an exotic animal. Elaborate
dessert: tarte tatin. Evacuation plan. Her mothy
black beret. Mirror threads. Empty pockets
loud as news. How it began with red.