If We Do This, Then We Really Did This.

alt: www.whitedoewoman.com

Month: June, 2014


Open, incandescent heart.
Spring yourself from the platform of my sternum,
dive into the deep waters
of this oxygenated air,
sail through the sea of the palms of my hands
and shipwreck yourself
on the scuffed up surface of a drop-leaf table
my grandma bought before I was born.

Let me stare at you,
in rude and unapologetic fascination,
let me cradle your beats in wrinkled up fingertips,
wet with red and soaked up sweetness,
all that goodness seeping out
through paper towels and t-shirt scraps.

Outside of me, you shine like a new star;
all that space dust still settling,
still smelling of darkness, a black rose
blooming against the back of an eyelid.

Open up, incandescent heart.
Feel the four winds as they find you,
even inside all these walls; there are old things
that live on the wind and they can always get in
when invited;
drape yourself in moonlit silk,
adorn yourself with a perfume
of pine trees and tomato plants,
apple blossoms and the mushrooms that grow
under new moons and no stars;
take up all the space you need
and throw your doors wide open,
because opening means looking out,
and looking out means finding,
and finding means the kind of tiny fulfillment
that enchants and encourages
and sets our feet on dusty paths
towards discoveries waiting for the specific touch
of our hands;
open up, and let me crawl back in after you.


Liberated Lines Week 2

(Liberated Lines is an Instagram based writing course I am doing for the month of June. It focuses on “quick and dirty” poetry and prose, coupled with photography, and it has a mantra of “we don’t edit.” It’s been a wonderful experience so far!)


I open in dreams:
dried up paper thin flower
spread-legged on the page.


I open in dreams:
an empty nest crawling with
ghostly ambitions.

I open in dreams:
the rain is Technicolor,
but I’m always dry.

I open in dreams:
face pressed against my wishes,
and I listen there.

Every morning, I open my mouth to receive the communion of the air around me: their bodies are the bread, limp and heavy, the sweet smell of deep sleep drying down in their pores; their love is the wine, a holy trifecta of father-son-daughter, a vintage year that tastes like grace as it rolls across my tongue. The curtains are closed against the earliest light but every profile reads like Braille, and under my fingers they spell out snub noses and bristling beard and rose petal cheeks; I can read them in the almost-dark, every detail as dear to me as my next breath, and I lie in the stillness of that space and let it all pass between my lips, the way we are together, the way we start our days.



What it feels like when I open is: this face, her face, the face that exists on a plane of perpetual wonder and endless exploration, the way it reminds me to see things without the jade filter of drooping skepticism, to hear the way a train whistle sounds like the loneliest doom and a birdsong takes on the cascading notes of melting icicles. She’s wide open every day, we all are before eight hour school days and ten hour work days and accrued vacation time and retirement savings; looking at her throwing herself into the next breath because it’s all she knows, watching the way her inhalations catch on her xylophone ribs, running my hand through her sticky sunscreen hair, it’s this, and it’s here: watering these small people, keeping fingers crossed they grow tall and straight and sweet, adding stakes where needed, letting their roots reach down and around the heart-soil in our breast, and they bloom over and over again, and every time is an opportunity to turn our own faces to the sun and fly with our feet in six inches of dirt.


Just you try and stop me when these words get going,
when they bypass my breath,
and explode from my chest,
these feathered, furry beasts,
these monsters and gods made up
of all my own longing.

They don’t care to be legible,
aren’t fenced in by appropriate spacing
or a carefully crafted semicolon,
reject the cage of defined creativity;
they stomp out across my sternum,
hoof prints mingling ink and blood and mud,
and in the middle of the page,
with no regard for margins,
they thrust into each other,
intoxicated by the open space
of a miscarried muse
and thirty-two unclaimed lines.

Honey moon,
slung low in the belly of these sweet June stars,
hung heavy in the place where my pelvis starts to spread,
pushed up against the space inside my sacrum,
lit up along the length of my spine;
the hem of my dress is wet with the cool breath of evening grass,
and under the eye of the watchful sky,
I let it slip from my shoulders.

My hair smells like sage and smoke,
like my skin is an incense I’m burning
in the blackest part of my front yard;
widdershins, I’m dizzy, drunk on the way the air feels
as it settles in my thirsty pores,
intoxicated by the bewitchment of my breath,
mad with the silver shine on the shadows of my bare feet;
this is who I am when I am open,
a maiden in love with the world as it moves around her,
as it moves inside her for the first time;
a mother, a belly full of moon, a midnight moaning song
that sways side to side and calls forth life in dark canyons;
an old crow crone, wrinkled fingertips that gather magic
in the beginning dust of a brand new month,
bones and breadcrumbs and stories like a living pulse.
This is who I am when I am open:
standing seen under a moon as big as everything,
sleepwalking while I’m wide awake,
dreaming with my eyes full of honey.


Liberated Lines Week 1

(Liberated Lines is an Instagram based writing course I am doing for the month of June. It focuses on “quick and dirty” poetry and prose, coupled with photography, and it has a mantra of “we don’t edit.” It’s been a wonderful experience so far!)

I open up and unfurl under the watchful eye of a sky clouded over with the kind of hot and heavy summer rain you can smell on your skin hours later. I bloom like dandelion dragging itself up through the cracks in the pavement of our driveway, stubborn, insistent in my right to exist, and her feet are filthy, chipped polish showing pink through the wet grass and dirt that cling to her tiny toes, and he yells across the yard at me, lacking self-conscious censorship for another blessed day, and the soil and her skin and his freckled nose and the birdsong and soft rain are the gifts of my undoing.

Just over fifty steps from my front door, the barbed wire that once caught on my shorts as I scaled it sagging close to the ground now, ripped open and pressed down by the passage of time and animals and big heavy boots. I love living with this little bit of wilderness all wild around me, two sides of tangled up trees and vines, and there are abandoned nests in the high up spaces, and empty turtle shells by the bracken summer water, and one winter, I found the skeleton of a doe, and it was holy holding it in my hands. Coyotes sometimes gather in the inner chapel of its green cathedral and sing alleluias’ to the moon, and I’ve prayed to myself with bare skin pressed up against cypress bark and blood surging through trembling thighs. There are broken branches, and broken bodies, and broken fences here; and I bring to it all my broken memories, because we’re at our most beautiful in our vulnerability, and I am most wholly myself with all these barriers buried underfoot.

I break the earth open under my hand and hold a heavy palm full that smells like sun-soaked soil. The thrust of the spade and the eventual give, soft sigh, the desire of the dirt, how it longs to lie under my nails. Seeds and roots and all the wet heat of mulch, and the scent of deep dark things that grow as I sleep It opens to me, under me, and I meet it there, wide open and slick with sweat, broken things in full bloom.

That summer we made love, starting on the stairs. The storm set up around us, the way he moved like lightning striking at the softest part of me, how I burned from the bottom up, a fury of fire caught up in the tendrils of hair held in his fist. And in that pulse of flesh, deliberate and hard, thunder rolled along the lining of my throat, and I gave that hurricane my own name, let the wind blow out on the force of my breath, tropical and hot. And there’s always that moment of utter surrender, when you’re weightless and formless and floating outside of the bones that are anchors, and it’s an empty space to expand into, until you take up every inch of it with your nails pressed into your palms and your mouth full of galaxies, and that’s a gift, that opening up and falling out of your skin, and I think of it every time it storms.

If tonight I let you crack open my chest, you’d find the space between my spine and my sternum crowded, maximum capacity, all these straining spirits desperate for attention; a whisper of wind might catch their upraised open palms and pull them from their secret spots behind every organ, exposing them to the air of the living, an evaporation of emotion. And while I lay there empty, I’d let you fill me up with the way you tell ghost stories, how they settle on my skin like an early morning spider web, how they sink down to the bottom of my bones and sit there like they own the place, and there’s space, too, for the grasshopper that was dying in the corner of the kitchen; I caught him up on a square of paper and went outside in the soft sunlit rain, and I put him down in the grass because I wanted his last breath to taste green, and maybe that’s how I taste to you, an expanse of meadow set against the sky, a curl of chlorophyll underneath your tongue.

Updated “Birthmarks.”

I don’t know why I didn’t do this years ago! Click the image for the high res version.


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