Words I love

Climate by Jenni Mazaraki

It comes and goes, this cold dropA sheet draped over panic, not delicate Not even the well of water in holiday snapsOver magnificent falls will smother the burn It’s a drowning of sorts, but much slowerA slow reveal of devastation Saltwater rising, lapping at new school shoesAsh scented sky landing on ribbons in freshly brushedContinue reading “Climate by Jenni Mazaraki”

Daughter by Danusha Laméris

I always wanted a daughter, which isto say, I wanted a better self, flecked from my marrow—madeflesh. I wanted this bone-of-my-bones to move in the world, exceptionaland unharmed. Not this world. But a world almost exactly unlike it. Samepaved streets and street cafés, same slow unfurl of spring. Only in that world,the green of fieldContinue reading “Daughter by Danusha Laméris”

Toolangi by Simone King

She is on the last frontier, the edgeof forest as she knows it. She breathesin air frost-laced and petrichor and surveysthe scene, looking for a landing. There is none,the crater’s gaping mouth has eaten mountainash, messmate, and spat out splinters. A single fernstands in the epicenter, its fronds touching no one.Her babe moves inside her,Continue reading “Toolangi by Simone King”

Uneven Ground by Laura Grace Weldon

He wants to fill in the pasture’s low spots.I say no, no, nothese are magic spaces.When winter comes they ice overnightto crunch like candy under toddler boots.Each spring, puddles leap into being,just deep enough to wriggle with tadpoles.Drying into mud, they entice butterfliesto drink salts in a crowded aerial whiffle.Why even anything out?These depressions ofContinue reading “Uneven Ground by Laura Grace Weldon”

Backwards by Warsan Shire

for Saaid Shire The poem can start with him walking backwards into a room.He takes off his jacket and sits down for the rest of his life;that’s how we bring Dad back.I can make the blood run back up my nose, ants rushing into a hole.We grow into smaller bodies, my breasts disappear,your cheeks soften,Continue reading “Backwards by Warsan Shire”

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”

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.You do not have to walk on your kneesfor a hundred miles through the desert repenting.You only have to let the soft animal of your bodylove what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.Meanwhile the world goes on.Meanwhile the sun and the clearContinue reading “Wild Geese by Mary Oliver”

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”

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