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

Bluebeard’s Wife: Lessons in Self-Defense

I’m everyone’s favorite fairy godmother,
so I hear some dark confessions.
I receive some strange requests.

“How does one kill a person with only her bare hands?”
one fearful princess asked me (let’s call her Bluebeard’s Wife).

“You can’t,” I told her, looking at her delicate, fragile hands
and then turning to stare out the window
at the blossoms on an April tree.

“Your more experienced sisters know this.

You must learn to read everyone.
Assume the worst.

Search out all the places kept off-limits.
Remember—if he protests too much, 
he’s most likely guilty. Remember that,
and prepare for battle.

Your best defense is All Your Sisters
by your side. He can’t kill all of you-
so stick together, little one.”

DAE-BA024494 - © - De Agostini / Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana

-Kristen Grace

Instructions on Not Giving Up

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

-Ada Limón1976