Mother Ocean

Sails spun up in
tight rolls, like the
washing being wrung out.
You sat at the bow,
noticed how
the waves came in whorls,
slapped at the sides of our ship, and
made it seem like we were moving. I
paced the deck, a wreck,
studied the cracked paint,
waited for your pain
to end.
All of our dreams
were docked here, it seemed
a final place of rest,
the last four years a cruel test
of fate, or God, or a
vengeful, all-powerful mother earth.
I half expected that below our ship, the
ocean would part, though instead of granting us passage,
the water would swirl and whirl to reveal
a gaping maw, an ancient ocean mouth,
and swallow us as Her final meal.


Spring brings rains,
prepares your
body for what’s to
come, come summertime.

Summer comes with
leafy greens and
lean meats to build
strength; you soak up
sun, and work and work and work.

Autumn comes too soon, a
day late and you miss the
color change. Harvest saved:
you eat and eat of squash and
meat, build fat, learn to
relax, at last.

Winter begins quickly, with
shivers and sighs and the
wait for warmer days. The
sun hits low in the sky, and
you wonder if you will ever
have enough.

Fire at the edges

Fire at the edges of my nipples, and you
walk into the room like
banjos playing soft in the woods, to a Yankee.
Terrified of shadows because death is
always hidden at the corners of them, shift my eyes and
swear something moved at the edge of my vision
of you.
We twist words into yarn, spin it with abandon,
knit ourselves shawls and sweaters and blankets to
keep out the cold,
cold that
pleads and begs like an old
beagle, whines and howls and
melts at the doorstep in defeat.
Embers grow under my feet, I
watch the full moon creep across the
sky, empty of stars,
wait out the loneliness and
clench my fist around
one last piece of coal.


I have the same
emotional response to it as
other women.
Nothing so dramatic as a
miscarriage, my
infertility is subtle, masks itself in
bodily quirks like my
urine never having enough LH to
mark the
pee stick in double
pink lines; quirks like
pains at the wrong times, or my
body’s refusal to make an
egg on time, or at all. Quirks like
my already compromised
thyroid under attack again, by my
own body’s hand. Every
invasive procedure, they
stick things inside you in some
sick, consensual form of rape where
you desperately need this
child, and so you endure it.
period like a thousand
deaths of every child I imagined from
infancy to adulthood, a hundred thousand
potential people I might have carried–
all killed in a whirlwind of cramps and a sea of blood.

Sweep the dust back

We sweep the dust back
into the cracks
between old oak floorboards.
Each day I see patterns in their
grains that point to
shapes, this time
rabbits and deer, like
pictographs on stone. One day the
permanent lines traced by
stress or insects
shift themselves like
candle-lit shadows and suddenly I see
two round, empty sockets in my floor.
Now I avoid that place
skip the room altogether most days,
avert my eyes if I have to walk through;
scared of their stare, so much
stronger than my own, so much more.