The Ramifications of Something So Unusual

Anna Sunshine Ison

On Wednesday, they pulled a woman,
once-woman, out of the lake—
drowned who-knows-when
and turned into soap.

This is not the sort of transformation
we are taught to expect—
girls into birds, plastic surgery,
born-again Christians.
These changes we can deal with,
with little more than a stretch of belief.

But this. Bones become soft,
a face that fingers could reshape.
Is that what they did to bury her:
sculpt her into her original form
like Avicenna’s bear-mother
nosing her whelps? Or
is now the time for artistic license,
to gift her with a beauty she never had,
an apology for seeing her so undone?

I want to know if the coroner
found his hands unexpectedly clean
where he’d lifted her,
and if he plunged them into the muck
so he could have a stain to wash off
when he got back home.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro
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ANNA SUNSHINE ISON is a native of Rowan County, Kentucky. She studied beauty pageants in Venezuela through a Fulbright grant and now works as a freelance writer in Greensboro, North Carolina. She received her MFA in writing from UNC Greensboro.