Oh Wise King
by Lucia Zimmitti

If King Solomon had to lie still
with his feet hitched in stirrups,
the stiff paper beneath him
betraying every movement,
every breath
while his turning eggs
were harvested, plated
plumped, pierced with a syringe. . . .

If later he were told
—as the White Coats pat his needle-bruised hand—
that the “product” was unusable. . . .

maybe he wouldn’t have offered to cut
a baby in half like
                   crusty bread
                   or a Labor Day watermelon
                   or the magician’s lady,
knees tucked to chest,
fake legs slack,
holding her breath while saw teeth split the wood around her.


Lucia Zimmitti’s poems and stories have appeared in Sulphur River
, Northwoods Journal, Emrys, Columbia: Journal of
Literature and Art
, The Minnesota Review, and Artisan: A
Journal of Craft
.  A former high school English teacher and college
writing instructor, she now runs ManuscriptRx.com, a coaching/editing
service for writers, and is a regular contributor to EzineArticles.com.  
Zimmitti and her husband currently reside in New England but are
making plans to move 2257 miles to southern New Mexico once (if?)
their house sells.   

On “Oh Wise King”:
My grade school education was entrusted to nuns.  (Admitting it
is the first step?)  Although that stranglehold loosened decades
ago, I’m still pawing through the rubble, hoping to uncover
something worthwhile.  Despite my childhood fascination with
the Bible stories cemented in the school’s curriculum, I was
baffled by the reductionistic view they imposed on life’s
messiness and therefore couldn’t accept them as literal life
blueprints.  (I earned an interminable loop of afterschool
detention because I insisted on articulating this.)  The story of
King Solomon is an example.  Limiting maternal love to biology,
he identified the real mother by offering to rip a baby in half and
divide the pieces.  That might make for compelling parable, but
when I experienced the staggering complexity of motherhood
firsthand, it made me imagine Solomon in painful positions.  The
result?  A few stanzas where the good king has no room to be
short-sighted and cavalier.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 3, Number 1
(Spring 2008)

Copyright © 2008
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.