Like Me

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you. (44)

~from The Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu translation by S. Mitchell

Sometimes, sleep sits empty
on a brick wall.
It doesn’t waver or fall,
it’s thin smoke,
anxiety on a string
swaying in a spring breeze,
more gently than a tire swing—

like me.

I count how many likes on my poem,
posted on social media:
only one today;
six the other day;
zero the day before that–
and the poems sit empty
unread,
unliked,

like me.

Anxiety takes hold of my breath,
holds it hostage,
sucking life,
zipping it up in too tight of jeans
until stomach aches,
and vomit sneaks up the windpipe
never to escape.
But sits there, uncomfortable—

like me.

Even if my life is uneventful,
I still try
to make the day worth something.
I love the sunrise as much as breath,
I love the warmth radiating on my skin,
hands in dirt planting carrot seeds, beets
radishes for their vibrant colors
for their sweet or bitter taste,
hoping they take root—

like me.

My roots are not tied down to place,
but to memory,
to my children,
to poems,
even if unread—
my name ties them to earth
and root.
Showing the universe
I’m here.
Life has meaning
and, maybe, in that moment
that I posted that poem,
bravery stood up—

like me.

Sometimes, anxiety punches me in the gut,
knocks the wind right out of me
and maybe I’ll fall,
and then again, maybe I won’t.

Each morning that I wake up,
grateful for another chance…

© Gina Marselle, April 26, 2020

Take Root | April 2020| Image by Gina Marselle

Imprint

Katrina K Guarascio

My body is tight in
the stillness of the a.m.
I long to touch toes,
to have purpose in my reach.

I can feel your imprint
in the bed beside me
and I know it is probably
the craze of mourning but
I swear I heard you in the
next room.

I do not open my eyes.
I refuse to look for you
and allow the knowledge of
your absence.

I prefer this gentle
hallucination. The shift
of muscles in
early morning to bind me
inside the comfort of yesterday.

Fortress

20 days in isolation,

each tally marks
my life inside:
mom,
teacher,
wife,
daughter,
sister,
friend,
photographer,
poet—the same as before,
but different now.

Inside my fortress
capturing images
documenting #life
#istayhomefor—

1. Signs on a business’ door:
We are closed due to COVID-19
2. Empty sunsets—
3. Kano’s endless artwork—
4. Self-portraits, only in black & white,
5. Writing and writing and writing….

Tallies on the wall mark 20 days—
20 days disconnected from the world,
but oddly, connected,
being inside,
just staying home.

© Gina Marselle, April 2, 2020

Photos below are the photographs listed in the poem, Fortress, various times throughout being in isolation, all taken on an iPhone 7 Plus. 

1. Signs on a business’ door: We are closed due to COVID-19
2. Empty sunsets—
3. Kano’s endless artwork—
4. Self portraits, only in black & white,
5. Writing and writing and writing….

Last Day

Katrina K Guarascio

The clay we are molded
in will not harden. We
are not meant to last.

Even as we lay in post
coital glory, the tremble
still in my legs, the sweat
clinging to our bodies,
even now, we know
this is the end.

A moment shared, in all
its precious give and take,
touch and toss, comfort and
cross, is just a temporary
slip of the sun across sky.

Hold my body to yours, let
the sweat dry and consciousness
return to our extremities
let the sun fall on our last
day of summer. My dearest friend.

At the holy ground

Liza Wolff-Francis

we are people composting slowly,
decade after decade we watch
the young birth themselves
into this world we have given them.

At the holy ground, there is lush
green brush, there is warmth
of sun, the cool of water, rock
mountain temple before sky.

At the holy ground, my pleasures
are gathered and woven together
like chain link, but softer,
like silk. The most curious

birds with tufts on their heads,
peck at memories, rise together
like levitation in the quiet air,
as if they hadn’t always been there.

At the holy ground, it was like
we had barely wanted any atonement
or penance at any time in our lives,
but suddenly we hoped

for a blessing to appear out of nowhere,
like we needed it in order to go on
into the loneliness we knew
would soon be floodlit,

its every movement echoing
like a tree falling. Here,
the petals of flowers wait for me
to lie down and kiss the earth,

to lap at their spilled nectar.
We eat dandelions, imagine
ourselves as strong, as new
as the words sung to us

by the voices we love,
as if they were angels
or mermaids or goddesses.
I should just call them goddesses.

Marrow

Emily Bjustrom

After Natalie Diaz

While she sleeps, I paint
the windows shut.
To trap the cold wet light of evening.

After a summer thunderstorm,

I am pacing and strange.
My bones- a girl.
Soft and still,
as the air sneaks
to wake her.

She is my spine.
The hollow points in me
The cave in my belly

I paint the spaces between
the clouds and the backs of my knees

Dust gathers on the sill
scent of passing rain- starched cotton.

An empty hand unfurls.

Ignite

“…sizzle like moth wings,”

~Naomi Shihab Nye

In Nye’s poem Burning the New Year,
she writes in four stanzas
a poem of beauty, letting go
metaphors and love.
I want to love myself as I love this poem,
so, I let go that I’m not enough.

What if I loved myself like
my life depended on it?
What if doubt waterfall-ed down the Sandia’s
in a year of drought—

impossible?
Never.

I have touched a waterfall once long ago
on a lonely hike to Travertine Falls
where rock, cave, tree, water and desert meet—

impossible?
Never.

Time has hidden this spot
like love in a cottonwood root
ageless and unseen.

This is love I ignite from self
to waterfall as a desert monsoon
spills from all the crevices
into a new year affirmation: I love myself.

©Gina Marselle, January 20, 2020

this bird

Katrina K Guarascio

never learned to nest

allowed feathers to fall
without a thought to
where they may land

I too
am on the wing

telling stories of lives
I could never take apart

this bird breaks to pieces
part of the puzzle that
wedged creation together

this birdsong
sweet as time
reaches never touches

too many nests
not enough places
to sit and stir

a myth is true only when
it is sung on morning’s breath

let the ink be ink
the guitar be guitar

let song be song

“this bird” is previously published in the Weekly Write 2020 via Swimming with Elephants Publications.

Original Art by Katrina K Guarascio

While he sleeps,

Liza Wolff-Francis

I sit in the dark of morning, inhale
the sacred silence that comes between

his breaths like a tiptoe. My body balances
on the edge of the bed as if it was to decide

which day to climb out of. His breath, even
and pacing, as if it were the day moving

through itself and an occasional animal sound,
a raccoon perhaps, a squirrel, a dog, a bear.

My bear behind me, vulnerable like all
that would kill us is far from here, far from us.

My prayers that it will stay that way hover
at the floorboard cracks, like a spell of salt

and peppermint oil to keep away dark shadows,
politicians in their masks, the America

I criticize and want to be different. Only all that I love
here in the dark right at my fingertips, holding up

the droop of my breasts, the bend of my toes,
the wild of my hair. While you sleep, the air

holds me in its dying night and I wait to remember
myself, all skin and bone, in the coming light.

Reawaken & Stay

Emily Bjustrom

At Dawn I could be anywhere:
on the edge of my desk,
talking about
what it means to be a Mountain.

I’ve sat the Dawn on Mountains and Beaches.
Alone in a New Light,
I too am Aflame,
burning paper Bridges.

Between people
bridges connect as much as they separate.

When you make a promise you should keep it.
I am nothing without my word.

The Dawn is a cold fire,
the Dawn is a Promise,
unshakable in its certainty.

This moment
like everyone before it
sparks and catches.