Basket of Figs by Ellen Bass

Bring me your pain, love. Spreadit out like fine rugs, silk sashes,warm eggs, cinnamonand cloves in burlap sacks. Show me the detail, the intricate embroideryon the collar, tiny shell buttons,the hem stitched the way you were taught,pricking just a thread, almost invisible. Unclasp it like jewels, the goldstill hot from your body. Emptyyour basket ofContinue reading “Basket of Figs by Ellen Bass”

On finding Charlotte in the Anthropological Record by Judith Nangala Crispin

We meet on the surface of a photograph, as a fish and bird might meet in a lake, ata point of sky and the water’s plane. Charlotte, in a book called The Aborigines ofNorthern Victoria, sits jade-black on earth, wind disarranging her hair. Trees obscuredby falls of campfire ash. Her nudity is covered by aContinue reading “On finding Charlotte in the Anthropological Record by Judith Nangala Crispin”

What I didn’t know before by Ada Limón

was how horses simply give birth to otherhorses. Not a baby by any means, nota creature of liminal spaces, but alreadya four-legged beast hellbent on walking,scrambling after her mother. A horse gives wayto another horse and then suddenly there aretwo horses, just like that. That’s how I loved you.You, off the long train from RedContinue reading “What I didn’t know before by Ada Limón”

Wife by Ada Limón

I’m not yet comfortable with the word,its short clean woosh that sounds likelife. At dinner last night my single girlssaid in admonition, “It’s not wife-approved”about a friend’s upcoming trip. Theireyes rolled up and over and out theirpretty young heads. Wife, why does itsound like a job? “I need a wife” the famousfeminist wrote, “a wifeContinue reading “Wife by Ada Limón”

Event by Sylvia Plath

How the elements solidify! —-The moonlight, that chalk cliffIn whose rift we lie Back to back. I hear an owl cryFrom its cold indigo.Intolerable vowels enter my heart. The child in the white crib revolves and sighs,Opens its mouth now, demanding.His little face is carved in pained, red wood. Then there are the stars –Continue reading “Event by Sylvia Plath”

Good Bones by Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.Life is short, and I’ve shortened minein a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,a thousand deliciously ill-advised waysI’ll keep from my children. The world is at leastfifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservativeestimate, though I keep this from my children.For every bird there is a stone thrown atContinue reading “Good Bones by Maggie Smith”