Friday, January 21, 2011


Heavy with intent snow flakes float down
to lose their featherselves into
a boundless, a soundless white. What gentleness
what heaviness
to press the chilly ground
cover the spikedead grass
fill the hills, the small hollows
Snow filling shallows, filling all the valleys
with tenderness
Snow falls
like a mother's hand,
silences the land

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


i thought i left you
but you came running on behind
you witch, you fishhook, bitch
ten mile journey and i find,
i find
can't get you fishhook,
get you
unhooked from out my mind

fishhook was a woman, good god
she was fine
silver woman, silver
she was silver in my mind

fishhook was a woman, she was
less than flesh and bone,
fishhook, won't you
leave a poor girl alone

i said farewell fishhook, i'm leaving you behind
i had to turn and take a look
now you're burning like a pillar in my mind

fishhook on my pillow
fishhook by my side
i beat that witch with willow sticks (lord, i was weak!)
i beat that witch with willow sticks
til i like to died

i said farewell fishhook, leave
my poor mouth alone,
i said i'm leaving fishhook
poor girl,
i want my home
i said, i'm coming mama, and
on my own.

i thought i left you
but you came running on behind
you witch, you fishook, bitch
ten mile journey and i find

i find
can't get you fishhook, get you
unhooked from out my mind

fishhook was a woman
and good god she was fine
silver woman, silver
silver fishhook in my mind
lord, a girl stuck on a fishhook
you know she's got to die

A Story

Once there was a woman who could have no children. This woman knew a little of witchcraft; one day she closed her eyes, whispered a secret word her grandmother had taught her, and spit into her palm. When she opened her eyes she saw, sitting in her hand, a tiny pearly frog. The frog stared at her with pale, blank eyes. Then it slid out of her cupped hand and hopped across the floor, leaving behind it a slick trail that gleamed like moonlight. The woman chased after the frog, but it crept under the door and disappeared before she could catch it. The strings of slime gleamed like strange writing on the floor. The woman thought there were secrets in it, but she did not know how to read them.

The next day the woman closed her eyes, whispered the secret word twice more, and spit into her hand again. This time she clenched her stomach and spit out thick black chyme, sour-smelling and bitter. When she opened her eyes, it had become a tiny green snake with transparent wings. The snake's shining green scales were hooked and bit into the soft skin of her palm; its belly was hot and burned her hand. She shook her hand; the worm spread its soft wings and fluttered unsteadily to the window. It flew out. Her hand was red and hot, and spotted with tiny holes where red beads of blood welled up. There were, she thought, secrets behind the pattern; but she could not understand them.

On the third day the woman closed her eyes one more time. This time she said the secret word three times, very loud. When she spit into her hand she tasted the angry sharpness of blood. She spit out the blood into her palm, along with a tiny round hard thing like a stone. When she opened her eyes she saw that the round thing was her heart. It was black. She pressed her finger to it, gently, and it blinked a dark eye at her. She saw that her heart was like a tiny lizard curled in on itself. The lizard did not uncurl; it closed its dark eye again and curled up tighter and tighter, until it disappeared. She was left with dark blood smeared across her palm. She could feel blood cracking and peeling stickily from the corners of her mouth; and inside her chest she felt the blank spot where her heart had been.


Coffined, I woke. Wide eyed and blind, I breathed. Earthsmell, dank and heavy; woodsmell, faint and sweet. Six safe walls left splinters, hooked little comfort stings into my fingers stroking. O my doorless home, my eyeless box. I called it peace, i dreamed only to lie blind, to breathe unseen. Was it through the nailholes you seeped in, sweet cinnamon?

Wood around me, earth above me: helpless i breathe you now, piercing the damp earth smell, the wet wood smell. My dark home frangible, assailed by clarion cinnamon. With fragrant lemon, heady rose, jubilant tangerine. When I open my eyes, what gateless, what abundant burgeoning?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Holy holy holy, Lord--
My bones cry out, my hollow bones

Over my bones You are
a bitter wind
you make them ache with angry
sorrow, let me alone
let me mourn my own unholy

let me mourn with hollow
bones, let me cry i,
i am unholy

Upon my sorrowbones You are
a crushing torment
Sound and resound: that heavy
Holy Holy
storm, you splinter
my bones

cry out angry, cry out lonely
hollow, now all longing
You break my bones with longing,
now Lord

make me a bowl, fill me