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forge [fawrj, fohrj]

By Leslie Anne Mcilroy

(1) to form by heating and hammering; beat into shape, as in the child’s back
     burning, shoulders of flame, ribs of shame till she is no longer what she
     was, but what you want her to be; 2) to form or make, especially by
     concentrated effort, as in pride, see the girl, my girl, take credit, look what I
     have made, look at my bruised and blistered palms
; 3) to imitate
     fraudulently; as in to fabricate a girl that looks like the one you want, but
     isn’t really, though no one knows unless you hold her eyes to the light,
     glint her unbrokenness, the lie; 4) a special fireplace, hearth or furnace 
     in which metal is heated before shaping, as in where you keep the girl,
     mindful of her luck, her hot body/metamorphosis, surrounded by tools,
     grateful; 5) the workshop of a blacksmith, who is you, you, who forge
     greatness of nothing, silence the misshapen, name on the awning; 
     6) when the toe of the horse’s hind foot strikes the bottom of the front foot
     just as the front foot is starting to leave the ground, as in the girl is
     running, trying to run, aware of her (mis)shape and its weight, clipping her
     heels, shoes so heavy and hot, she cannot escape without crippling
     herself.

Added: Friday, August 7, 2015  /  From "SLAG," (Main Street Rag Publishing Co, 2014). Used with permission.
Leslie Anne Mcilroy
Photo by Matt Wrbican.

Leslie Anne Mcilroy won the 1997 Slipstream Poetry Chapbook Prize for Gravel, the 2001 Word Press Poetry Prize for her full-length collection Rare Space and the 1997 Chicago Literary Awards. Her second book, Liquid Like This, was published by Word Press in 2008 and Slag was published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company in December, 2014 as runner-up to their 2014 Poetry Book Prize. Leslie’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Grist, Jubilat, The Mississippi Review, PANK, Pearl, Poetry Magazine, the New Ohio Review, The Chiron Review and more. She is a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee and managing editor of HEArt — Human Equity through Art. Leslie works as a copywriter in Pittsburgh where she lives with her daughter Silas. Books and more at lamcilroy.org.

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