I know you love her by the way you speak of her as she walks the carpet in sea-green, sunlit gowns. Who would ask you to break with her or her literature, Abandon her A-list avenues or prickly crowns? I suggest only one alteration—uncover the veil and see the violence they’ve done to her face, but-her-face with sunken eyes of rust and wail, foundations of varnish you could still embrace. No time or reason to turn and leave despite the yellow brick ways of which you’ve dreamed. Cast and gloved, she’s not looking for an acolyte, but someone to love her becoming un-seamed. So solidly was she the vision of your inspiring and knowing her fully, imperfectly worth desiring.
These are a set of poems inspired by a poem I did years ago for my friend Michelle S. after hearing she passed away. I was on a writing retreat in O'Keeffe Country and using a notebook she had given me. I was surprised and very moved by her inscription. At that time I thought I would someday like to write 30 poems for inspiring women in my life for NaPoWriMo. The title now says "33 Women" because the Michelle poem had already been written as well as the prologue above, drafted auspiciously on February 14. I've already compiled and chronologically ordered the women and posted their pictures here: http://www.marymccray.com/33-women.html. There's also a past NaPoWriMo poem that also complies with the project, a poem I wrote about Laura D., a girl I met in third grade, "When I Was a Bird" - https://hellopoetry.com/poem/350345/napowrimo-challenge-april-15-2013-when-i-was-a-bird/ - which brings us up to 33.