The Proper Order of Things

She enters the kitchen the same way

she opens her make-up drawer:


hoping for a mess, so she can begin

scraping food and stacking plates


filing eyeshadow palettes

in the order of the rainbow


an irreversible covenant

she knew by heart when she was six,


when orange, not green, meant jealousy

and blue the gift of the anointing–


the meanings of colors in the bible

are not their meanings in the world.


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Shawna Kay Rodenberg holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She is an English Lecturer at Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Pikeville, Kentucky. Her poems have appeared in New Millennium Writings, Structo, drafthorse, Kudzu, and Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and her reviews and essays have appeared in Consequence, Salon and the Village Voice. In 2017 Rodenberg received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award.

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