An excerpt from

Beauties on Mad River
by Jan Conn


In the red wooden box, elaborately carved,
lived all our family secrets. As a teen-age

girl, I pilfered the box and opened it in private.
Inside, a smaller red box. Letters from Aunt Emma,

my namesake, "to whom" inked out, black as midnight.
About her spiritual quest, her dismissal

from the convent age eighteen for falling in love
with the moon. Silver stigmata appearing

at the wrong time and placemarry me, she wrote
to the moon. Bring me to Babylon. Give me silk

and satin wings that I might greet you fittingly.
All day I drink Bloody Marys to commemorate

her death by poison, her pioneering
flight to the moon.