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A Strand (a love poem)

When I found her hair in the shower the first time,

my knees bent as if she left me a love poem.

I wrapped my hand around it,

like I would never let her go.

I watched another make its way down the drain

and realized I was holding it like

I understood she would probably go.

Knuckles white-red from grasping so tight,

her hair-poem made fists for loving.

I loved her before

I kissed her. Which is the hardest way to fall.

All heart. The way a balloon keeps filling until

it bursts. The way a robin’s egg falls out of the nest

just before it births flight. I swallow down the yellow

yoke of her, lick her words like frosting from my face.

One little hair and I am folded naked in the tub,

knees to my chest, water drowning my grin–

wondering if she understands how brilliantly she feels

or how beautifully she knows. I curl around her questions as if

the desperation behind questions have been answers the whole time.


Invitation to Be/live

I have been invited to church, to lodge, to pray in the woods.

To make art, to build alters for the dead, to study the Bible.

She, and then she, reads my cards and counts my stars,

she prays on her knees,

while I look up at the moon.

I have been invited

and often I go,

or come,

somehow I arrive

in these spaces

nothing feels more real or beautiful

Have you ever cried during someone else’s song of praise?

Have you ever trembled during the baptism of a stranger?

Outside of these spaces I think: missionaries, sheep, rape and war.

Capitalist communion.  Cultural appropriation.  Deflection and pacification.

 Have you ever wondered what you’re taking in exchange for offering your God?

Have you ever wondered what you’re offering in exchange for worshiping their gods?

Offering; spirituality for profit.

Even yoga makes me uncomfortable.

But to watch someone interact with their faith,

Not attend church, but to show up

This is what I have always been searching for

Waiting as a girl on church steps for

.                     my friends and their families to come out

.                     to believe in something so completely that I forget that everything fails

And then, she curled up in this communal space, front row, her legs folded beneath her,

And she took notes.

I don’t know what she wrote

But I read colors spiraling inside like the northern lights,

the kind of intensely gentle touch that heals.


She offers it to herself.

I sway to the notes that are not for me

as the congregation sings, moves

we’re moved.

Eyes closed, lungs filled with praise.


.                       Breathe.

.                                                Breathing fresh

air is something I cannot see.

But faith, she holds up

She reads it to me like the embrace of

a bedtime story

.                                           with a surprise ending.

Or a bright light

shining through a man-made tree,

reimagined.  Multiplied by three.

Draft 11/2/2015

Comfort Food

I just made myself one of my grandmother’s favorite foods, but I prepared it the way my mother would have eaten it.  I cannot decide who I am seeking comfort from, or for.

And I wonder if nourishing my body in the autumn will always feel like this now.  Like I watched my mother starve for three days until she died.

This is real life.


From Indian Trail to Noah’s Ark.

The offensive image is for direction,

in case you lose your way.

What does it mean to gender children’s food?


Working is for living. Living is not for working.

Yesterday I sat down at home and I felt guilty.  Or maybe it was shame.

It was the same feeling I get when I have called in sick to work, but need to run to the store for tissues or something to eat or drink.


Like I am not allowed.

Like someone will think me guilty, but give me no chance to explain.

Like I have no business resting.

Like I was born to work.


Like I cannot afford free time.

What does it mean to be happy?

What does love smell like?

When I was reading the dictionary yesterday



Researchers of Earth now think there might be a warm ocean on Enceladus, a moon of Saturn.

And I cannot help thinking: Climate Change

The human-made disaster formerly known as Global Warming

Right now as politicians revise language again

As if not saying something will make it go away


On this same Earth, in this same right now,

politicians in Iran are trying to deny Western birth control

while trying to erase       single as a

.                                      possibility for women.

To find balance in Iranian loss.

As if women are the saviors of a culture

Which they might be,

but not as body machines producing babies.

I want to say that this solution is wrong,

but I don’t know what to offer in its place–

how should Iran heal from

the war on                              terror?

Who am I to demand the selling

of Western birth control?


I once thought I was bigger than what needed to be held.

I once thought I was bigger than the trauma of the world.

This is not a mistake that one can afford to make twice.


Anonymous hacks Madison, Wisconsin

and the police wonder why they are being attacked.

Like Tony Robinson is the first unarmed black youth

to die at the hands of our protect and serve.

Have you ever decided not to call the police in search of safe,

because of racism?


Same Earth, same duration, my child has:

Taken an accelerated math placement exam, made it to the next level of the Spelling Bee,

and lost his last baby tooth.

He holds to the loss like it will be his last.

Like he will never hold a fragment of a human body again.


I take him to listen to a 62 year-old Hmong woman speak

about  working in a U.S. factory now

as she remembers being

hunted like an animal in the jungles of Laos

for 15 years, after the Vietnam war

and I wonder:

How much can he hold?

How does she hold so much?


My arms grow

in response to my heart’s breaking

but a body can be useless across the vast distances

Still, if Chinese pollution reaches North American snow fall–

Does human heartbreak warm the waters of the moons of other planets?

Or is it the love that embraces the break that gives off so much heat?




And can we ice the numb

without the snow?