Had a great time reading at the 2017 Utah Original Writing Competition at the Finch Lane Gallery. Congratulations to all the winners.
Psyched to be in 15 Bytes today.
I’m working on a manuscript, Past the minotaur, a contemporary retelling of the Greek myth. In the myth, seven maidens and seven youths were lowered into a labyrinth as annual sacrifices to the minotaur. These persona poems are vignettes from the point of view of three of the children as they wait in the dark maze.
Yes. They are dark. Happy Sunday.
So excited to be part of the Story Catcher Summer Writing Workshop & Festival next month. If you need a dose of inspiration, join us June 14–17 in the Pine Ridge Region of Northwest Nebraska.
As a 2017 Mari Sandoz Emerging Writer, I’ll be leading a workshop at the festival on Saturday.
Get all the deets here: StoryCatcher17FinalProgramEmail.
Going through some old files and found this one. It’s quite possibly my first published piece.
Published in Northern Lights, May 1996, Volume XI Number 4.
Back then, the fire was encircled
with the groaning growth of ring after ring.
to protect the yellow heart,
of what may crack but never
give. The way a mother holds
her bright, green twigs.
But now we dance in dark
the way wild things entwine.
The way I lift my hips to you
like a snake to a branch.
The way a blaze sheds a violent sheen
on scales gliding over thorn.
Little deaths rubbing against big deaths.
I take all you offer knowing
I will never be satisfied.
All those bones: a skull, a spine
reaching for some black root,
the delicate arc of alula, radius, and humerus―
the remnant of flight.
Death’s beauty is a single eye
seeing sideways the shape
of what it was to fly.
Sometimes I see that grim beak
carrying what I starved.
Published in Talking River, Winter 2016
We have lemon drops and beer. And so far,
we’re ahead of the storm. Mile after mile, railroad ties slide
in forlorn piles next to the tracks as if it took too much energy
to stay put. A coyote jumps for a mouse, pheasants
brighten. November snow sugars the tops of cows. Acres and acres
of freeze-dried sunflowers. I am helping my friend go home,
which sounds better than it is.
Her second marriage ended like the first.
And her daughter is with her father in Arizona.
And she left both for Minnesota during a polar vortex.
Somewhere near the Badlands, kamikaze birds rise
from camouflage to flap madly at the snow, steering
at the last minute to the fields. Flock after flock after
flock of northern rough-winged swallows ascend from safety
in dark clouds, frantic and disoriented. Have they ever seen a car?
The last bird of each flock tips at the last minute to float
sideways over the top. The first bird careens into the windshield,
thwack and smear. I assure myself it couldn’t possibly happen
again. Not twice. What’s the protocol? My brother would stop,
my friend says, gather feathers and eat the bird to honor its spirit.
But the shoulders of this two-lane highway are iced. So two
white women on The Rosebud Indian Reservation in a white
Subaru with packages of Creminelli Whiskey salami and Boschetto
cheese wrapped in brown paper keep flying along.
Two divorces each, young daughters, lovers out of reach.
As we mow through the flocks, the second bird thuds against glass.
Green guts, brown organs, down low. How many deaths in one day?
And like those foolish birds that opt for flight over security,
I think of the time my beloved and I were knitted together,
tucked in the velvet insides of a long-necked gourd
waiting out the rain. Thunder revving like an engine.
The first time, no one could blame me. Sheer numbers
alone, hundreds, one windshield. The second time I knew better.
Knew it would stick. I should have swerved, slowed down,
anticipated the waves of panic that dart and weave.
I’ve already taken too many wrong turns, and we’re running out
of time. My friend finds a burned white votive in her backpack,
balances it on the dashboard and lights it.
We pray for forgiveness at 60 mph during a ground blizzard in Sioux Lakota country.
After, there are no more flocks.
We are left with two smears that glow blue as the sun sets.
The sky electric pink, then purple, illuminating the price of every choice we’ve made.
Published in Talking River, Winter 2016
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