For fossil hunter Mary Anning.
In glass cases, bigger than my childhood
home, they display the rocks of my life’s work.
Together, men caw like gulls over scraps,
applaud their knowledge and its evolutionary weight.
They will not, yet, accept these finds as a woman’s
will not acknowledge my days searching the tide;
days when the sky could do anything – layers
of grey and blue stacked against each other.
How easily we set ourselves this way:
man over woman. They call me Handmaid,
think I gather pretty shells in my bonnet
for no reason but a pleasing shape.
They are wrong to try and erase me –
an expert at preserving remains.
The swirls of my fingerprints are spelled out on flint,
letters chiseled in the lines of my nameless bones.
Claire Walker’s poetry has been published in magazines, anthologies and webzines including The Interpreter’s House, Prole, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Poetry Shed, and The Chronicles of Eve. She is a Reader for Three Drops Press, and Co-Editor of Atrium poetry webzine. Her first pamphlet – The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile – was published by V. Press in 2015, and a second – Somewhere Between Rose and Black – will follow in December 2017.