M

Bathsheba

by Meg Eden

 

When I was in high school, my mother offered to sew curtains for my windows.

Don’t you worry that some man will see you change?

We lived so far from the road, I didn’t worry—I could’ve danced naked on the front lawn.

I think of Bathsheba, bathing in the dimming evening light. She’d just finished her menses—maybe she was tired of being deemed unclean, of unclean meaning hidden away, wanted some fresh air. In my bathroom, the smell of my own blood lingers sticky-sweet like fruit rotting in heat.

Maybe she bathed, craving romance. Maybe she missed her husband. Maybe she despised him. Maybe sleeping with the king was the fulfilment of a long-kept secret dream. Maybe it was her greatest nightmare realized.

Did her mother also tell her to stay away from open windows? Did she, like me, perceive the thrill—the fear—of being seen so fully?

Or because this was war-time, did she not worry about men being around (let alone alive) to look?

Or did she not think much about men, one way or the other?

 

Meg Eden’s work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO and CV2. She teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College. She is the author of five poetry chapbooks, the novel Post-High School Reality Quest (2017), and the forthcoming poetry collection Drowning in the Floating World (2020). She runs the Magfest MAGES Library blog, which posts accessible academic articles about video games. Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.

 

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What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “ Bathsheba”?

I’ve always been fascinated by the biblical character Bathsheba. We never hear her side of the story. When I was younger, I blamed her for her bath. I thought, what was she doing bathing on a roof? Exhibitionist much? But as I’ve become older, I’ve realized how easily I’ve fallen into victim blaming thought patterns, as if this somehow protects myself from being harmed (a topic I could write a whole series of poems on!). As I started to interrogate my own thinking, I began to see Bathsheba’s story in a much more complex and relatable way. I saw myself in her. Perhaps one of the reasons we don’t hear more about Bathsheba is because this isn’t a story about modesty. It’s a story about David’s sin, and how striving after his sin upended countless lives and modeled sinful patterns for generations to come. It’s not here to chastise Bathsheba for her bath; it’s here to condemn David.

News

Congrats to Christopher Allen for having a work from HOUSEHOLD TOXINS being chosen to appear in BSF 2019 from Sonder Press.

Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

New titles available from Robert McBrearty and Tori Bond.

Submissions

Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now CLOSED. Check out our new category triptychs! The submission period next opens March 15, 2020; submit here.

Upcoming

02/17 • Madison Frazier
02/19 • Gail Geopfert
02/20 • Maureen Alsop (8 of 12)
02/24 • Kenneth Pobo
02/26 • Miranda Campbell
02/27 • Maureen Alsop (9 of 12)
03/04 • John Meyers
03/05 • Maureen Alsop (10 of 12)
03/09 • Grant Faulkner
03/11 • Maureen Alsop
03/12 • Maureen Alsop (11 of 12)
03/16 • Tara Laskowski
03/05 • Maureen Alsop (12 of 12)
03/23 • Kim Chinquee
03/25 • Lucinda Kempe