elizabeth knapp

My Past Life as the Wife of Herman Melville
by Elizabeth Knapp

One hundred and fifty years after my stint as a witch, I was reborn the future wife of one of America’s most revered and enigmatic authors. Forget what you’ve read about standing by my man or claims that I was too frightened to leave. People will believe anything biographers want them to believe. Sure, he knocked me around a few times, and it’s true he once pushed me down the stairs, but the fact is, without me, the world wouldn’t have seen the genius locked inside him, churning until it surged, a force of nature unto itself, blinding in its wall of whiteness. Sometimes even I couldn’t look. The irony of the bread box didn’t escape me. I stored his memory there like a lie I told myself.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 2.

elizabeth knapp Elizabeth Knapp is the author of The Spite House (C&R Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 De Novo Poetry Prize. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in 32 Poems, Beloit Poetry Journal, Green Mountains Review, The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Quarterly West, among others. She is currently Associate Professor of English at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, where she lives with her family.

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