Rachel Walker



My Sister Posing in Front of the Arno


If it weren’t for the scrunchie
around your wrist and the teal
water bottle in the picture,

you could be Botticelli’s
Venus. Tawny hair swept
to the right and light

rising from your sternum,
your left shoulder. In Florence,
we were left out in the sun

too long, the Arno behind us
the color of baked clay, our
patience blown away like

pottery dust. In Botticelli’s
painting, zephyr and earth
goddess race towards the

newborn woman. The wind
clothes her in blossoms
while the goddess drapes

a robe over her shoulders.
When we reached Il Duomo, we
were barred from entering

St. Mary of the Flowers because
of your shoulders. They shined
like a scallop’s shell, egg

tempera on canvas. An old Italian
woman offered up her shawl.


Rachel Walker is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied English, French, and Creative Writing. She now lives in Texas, where she works with Americorps to provide case management services to individuals experiencing homelessness in Austin. This is her first publication.

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