Liberated Lines Week 2

by Cassie

(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.