Edmonia Lewis Shakes the Very Dust from Her Feet
William Kelly Woolfitt

Edmonia Lewis Shakes the Very Dust from Her Feet


Adieu, paper, for you give my drawings to moths, grubs,
crackling fire-tongues, the rips of my impatient hands;
you swindle, print bitter innuendos, turn me out
from school by decree of the beet-faced Ladies’ Head.
This time, I’ll unspot my own name: I’ve never stolen
nibs nor watercolors from the art department,
as I did not take revenge on the teasing blanched girls
I lived with, nor seek to poison when I bid them
drink dark wine warmed with a love potion of Spanish fly.
I’ll go by train to Boston, learn to cast my dreams
in plaster molds from Brackett, whose abiding marble
bust of noble John Brown declares to me the charm
of weighty matter. Citified, I’ll study and chip
my way in, uncolored by waggery and lies.

William Kelly Woolfitt

teaches creative writing and literature at Lee University and is the author of The Salvager's Arts, co-winner of the 2011 Keystone Chapbook Prize. His writings have appeared or are forthcoming in Threepenny Review, Cincinnati Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Ninth Letter, Shenandoah, Los Angeles Review, Sycamore Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review.