after Ada Limón’s “The Vulture & The Body”

atlas is a woman.
mythology might claim otherwise,
but who else could carry the weight of the sky
without any fanfare?
she simply performs her heaven-sent duty,
the golden apples in her garden her only true witnesses.

atlas is a woman — probably not a white woman (god knows
what white women are doing to this earth
that atlas keeps spinning) —
   a woman with biceps whose girth rivals that of boulders
with thighs so thunderous that the sky she holds up tremors
with every one of her steps.

atlas is a woman, perhaps a mother.
her name, “to carry,” not a reflection of a punishment
inflicted onto her by a man,
but of her past.
perhaps she carried children
in her womb and in her arms
before she carried the sky.

atlas is a woman. perhaps she’s a trans woman —
her “carrying” that of sorrow
for the premature loss of so many of her sisters.
her tears, unable to be wiped
for fear of losing her grip on the sky,
fall freely and are what sustain her garden —
an apple for each fallen.

atlas is a woman, perhaps a writer.
perhaps she carries the weight of the words on her tongue
she is unable to write down.
she’s elbow deep in blue
tracing their outlines into clouds,
longing for a pen.

atlas is a woman.
who else could carry the weight of the sky?

MIRIAM SCHWEIGER is a student at Smith College who loves Broad City, crunching through snow, and manchego cheese. Last year Miriam self published Starry Eyed, a chapbook of her poetry available for purchase if you contact her through instagram ( or twitter (@sultryprius).

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