After Joy Harjo
Remember the sky you were born under-
The light and how it shadowed
Your mother’s face
How she howled and screeched-
The two of you were Human then
Remember your feet
How they carried you
Up mountains and trees
You clung to them
Remember the breeze
How it kissed you
And blessed you with its touch
You knew then what animal you were
Katrina K Guarascio
I became numb
like a dried petal,
posing for pictures,
yet so close to crumble.
The thread pulled tightly,
and ribs corseted closed
unable to carry breathe
or speak the words that
scratch the top of my mouth.
Wanting to be a good woman,
I emerge mannequin,
hoping not to break
illusion with movement.
I am a clumsy masochist at best.
I continue to wake every morning.
Not a bathing beauty,
or ambitious explorer.
Not a teacher, or poet, or guide,
nor lap cat provided with secure function.
Without purpose, I only continue.
I used to trust in friendship,
assume confidence from conversations,
validations from simple smiles.
Now I cross myself in the morning
before covering my feet.
I keep my anger in an empty vase
that gathers dust on windowsill.
Katrina K Guarascio
It’s not your
had a chance.
and dresser drawers.
All I can think
is my grandfather will never
dance with me at my wedding.
My heart is broken
My body mourning.
All it is
all of this is
I can’t bury.
I’ve always had trouble
with the scraps,
always found it
impossible to let go.
at 10:30 on a Tuesday night
I am more empty,
than I can ever remember.
All I want is for
my mind to rest,
my body to resign.
This is not a holy time.
There is nothing sacred
in this prayer.
Dear child of my heart,
how does one rectify absence
when the only thing left is
and I am
on white pages again.
Metaphors are the same
as curse words are the same
as damn I miss you
is the same as damn
I miss myself is the same
I miss you.
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.
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.