Girl Villanelle, poem by Pauletta Hansel (ME, AT 17 Poetry and Prose Series)

Thank you to Silver Birch Press for including this poem in their cool “Me at 17” Project~

Silver Birch Press

pauletta-with-windy-hair-at-17aGirl Villanelle
by Pauletta Hansel

She’s still there, that girl,
the one I was and hoped to leave behind.
I am forever loosening the ties.

The only life she could imagine for herself
was one she’d heard already in a song.
She’s still there. That girl

took more than her share and left scattered
on the table all that could have fed her.
Hell-bent, she was, on loosening the ties.

I am not ready yet to claim her as my own.
She thought her body was the price of being seen.
She’s still there, that girl,

bound and shivering inside her own smooth skin.
I’ll say for her what she could not; that’s how
I’m loosening the ties

and slipping through the doorway
from the past—I won’t return alive.
Though she’s still there, that girl.
Me, I’m loosening the ties.

SOURCE: “Girl Villanelle” appears  in the author’s collection Tangle (Dos…

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Author: Pauletta Hansel

Pauletta Hansel is a poet, memorist, teacher and editor. On April 15, 2016 she was named Cincinnati's first Poet Laureate. Pauletta is author of five poetry collections, Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015), The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011), What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011), First Person (Dos Madres Press, 2007) and Divining (WovenWord Press, 2002). Her poetry has been featured recently in journals including Talisman, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Appalachian Journal, Atlanta Review, Postcards Poems and Prose and Still: The Journal, and anthologized in Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia; Motif: Come What May; and Motif: All the Livelong Day. Pauletta leads community poetry workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond, and has served as Writer-in Residence at Thomas More College in her native Kentucky. She is a co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

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