Inception

poem & photo by Elizabeth

INCEPTION


She asks,
wants him 
to be the first. 
As if the other 
were a ripened peach,
easily bruised,
they time their movements
to the ancient 
pulse of 
hearts 
then
seas.

Sharp tears through
hidden flesh
steal her breath.
They stop,
begin again,
relentless clock counts towards curfew.

Soothed by his hot sweet breath,
she rests in his embrace—
linear time shifts to the relative distance
between innocence and experience—

she arches,
accepts whispers
fingers
lips
as he eases her through
surmountable pain.

Her chrysalis rips,
new life emerges:
    	the harsh sun
    	scent of clary sage
    	wings drying in a warm breeze. 

Thank you to the editors of Hot Flashes: sexy little stories and poems for first publishing this poem.

America

photo by Elizabeth
AMERICA

Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth.
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate,
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet, as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand. 


Claude McKay, 1921 

Shenandoah Literary



Sand

Joya; poem & photo by Elizabeth

SAND

brown naked body
sprawled beneath the sun

scars of ritual and beauty
crossing its belly

where birds, dogs and people
have left tracks

soon made invisible
by waxing tide

Thank you to the editors of Agape: A Creative Arts Magazine for first publishing this poem.

If Bird

_1430974 - Version 2
poem & photo by Elizabeth

IF BIRD

you would be my loon
calling long past light,
my mourning dove, my
sweetest finch flashing
sun from black as night. 

If my bird you were I'd
feed you nectar from my
palm and plant thick trees
for you to rest and nest until
I could transform my arms
and hands to feathered limbs—
our hearts remade as song.

Thank you to the editors of The Tishman Review for first publishing this poem.

Longing to Belong

Dk in Lt
poem & photo by Elizabeth

LONGING TO BELONG

girl with eyes too large and
milky teeth fairies must wait
years for in a country that ripped
her from Mama locked her in
metal cage no laughter crosses
her howl swells into lost
others' sounds for families
babies resounds past soiled
dreams strips belonging as
those ripping teach children
how arms are weapons

Thank you to Writers Resist for first publishing “Longing to Belong.”

They Hold

poem & photo by Elizabeth

THEY HOLD THE SEA

Contagious as your hummingbird smile may be,
it is your hands...

hands that sculpt ki into a dragon's mouth
with arcs of mother-of-pearl framing
rainbow flames that smell of warm
milk and nutmeg, while your touch
draws the breath of muscle to bone,
then deeper.

Too few lines cross your hands,
large, almost too large,
they hold the sea.

Thank you to the editor of Something Like Homesickness for first publishing this poem.

Ki–Japanese word meaning energy or life force.

Woman Talks

photo by Elizabeth

In researching other poets in preparation for the Community of Writers, I’ve been especially impressed by an interview with Dawn McGuire, who is living one of the paths I would love to have lived. A neurologist, McGuire used to read her poetry with Judy Grahn, about whom Ani di Franco states, “When I was nineteen I discovered the poetry of Judy Grahn, and I was so moved by “A Woman is Talking to Death“, it’s still one of my favorite poems.”

Grahn’s poem illuminates where we rise from as a people and where too many remain stuck. I don’t understand bigotry, cruelty, or a lack of empathy, but do know when someone finds a way to clearly expose and trace its ripples. I’m relieved I couldn’t write “A Woman is Talking to Death,” because I wouldn’t want the experiences; however, I’d be grateful to write with this brilliance and power.