Women with Strange Hearts

Nothing stops your heart. Not even
deep dives into freezing regions of despair
that would kill the rest of us-
you find ways to survive,
coming back to your family, time and again.
Those who call you flightless,
watching you from shore,
have never seen you swim rescue-
never witnessed your speed and grace beneath the waves.
Those who thought they sized you up-
your quiet waddle over icy tundra-
have long since given up at trying to take you down.
The whisper of your daughters and grandchildren
might have warned them:
“She has the strongest heart in the whole world.”
Never underestimate the Empress.
-Kathi, The Emperor Penguin


Photo via National Geographic

The Bottomless Well of Empty Space

I fell in love with a new poet today.
New to me, that is.



(When the lecturer’s shirt matches the painting on the wall)

He stands there speaking without love
Of theories where, in the democracy
Of this universe, or that,
There could be legislators
Who ordain trajectories for falling bodies,
Where all things must be dreamed with indifference,
And purpose is a momentary silhouette
Backlit by a blue anthropic flash,
A storm on the horizon.

But even the painting on the wall behind,
Itself an accident of shattered symmetries,
Is only half eclipsed by his transparencies
Of hierarchy and order,
And the history of thought.

And what he cannot see is this:
Himself projected next to his projections
Where the colours from the painting
Have spilled onto his shirt,
Their motion stilled into a rigorous
Design of lines and light.

-Rebecca Elson


You can read more about her life and work here.


Now that you are without me,
what do you dream about?

Last night I dreamt that you and I
locked eyes across a bloody battlefield.
We had to fight our way through
every kind of violent death
to be together.

When I reached you,
sweaty, blood-drenched, exhausted,
you kissed my lips and
I felt the strength to stand.

Under the full moon,
I lit candles and sent a dream your way.
Now, thoughts of me flash through your mind
Before you drop away in sleep,
falling through the tangles 
of my hair.
You hear me whisper, “Come back to me.”

And you are.
You are on your way.

-The Warrior

Some nights I wanna get up here
and sing about your nonsense.
But I know my voice ain’ t good enough for bad lyrics-

(You’re doing it wrong-
dissecting the bird,
trying to find the song.)



The thing-
the quintessential thing-
is this:

I love you;
I loved you.
The thing-
the quintessential thing-
is this:

I loved you;
I am letting go of you.

It’s very difficult, isn’t it,
to love a person
while remaining aware
of all their flaws?
It’s very difficult, isn’t it,
to hold a person up
for scrutiny
in the harsh light
of reality?
Only a witch could love her now.
Only a witch would be aware
from the beginning-
she has flaws
she is flawed
she is a collection of flaws,
and her flaws make her
even more worthy
of being loved.

The Goddess Series: Erin

She sets flame to Palo Santo,
wafts the smoke over me,
and makes me clean again.

She tells me that I am
The Queen of Pentacles,
and makes me wise again.

She will not let me apologize,
ever, for anything,
and makes me strong again.

What gift is appropriate to bring
to such a goddess?

Dried sage from my garden? Poetry?
Silver jewelry? Singing in her honor
along with car karaoke?

What offering can I possible make?
All of this, and finally,
my pledge:

Hail, goddess.
I give you my loyalty.
I am yours.


Digital Breadcrumbs

Like Hansel,

I search my feed for joy.
I search my feed for crumbs
of kindness,

It’s difficult to find them,
drowned as they are
in calls to war,
paranoia, hate,
and most insidious,
It’s only later,
caged and terrified,
I begin to think
about the crumbs
I left behind.
Will my debris lead
another lost child to this cage
of rage and terror,
or did I scatter enough
behind me
to bring her out
to love and grace?

When I told her that seedlings
love kind voices and music,
she scoffed. Rolled her eyes.

I was so impressed.
I’ve raised her to be skeptical
of fantastic claims
until she sees the hard numbers,
reviews the scientific evidence.
But I also raised her to be gentle,
tenderhearted. When I walked
into the kitchen, hours later,

I found her hunched over the newest leaves
and delicate stems, whispering in her
softest voice, “Hello, baby.
Grow. Please grow. You are safe here.”

Perhaps she has heard me, once or twice,
whisper those benedictions over her.
-The Duality of Grace