Déraciné Magazine: This Means You Really Love Me

This happened sooner than expected, but I’m so excited.

My poem “This Means You Really Love Me” is published at Déraciné Magazine.

Also thanks to Ellen Meny and Kate Berwanger – their event Behind the Veil: A Night of Femme Horror spurred the writing of this poem, and I read an early version there. Thanks for curating my creepy!

CN: things get a little weird. Illness, death, etc.

We are thrilled to announce that our Summer 2020 issue is now live! Our deepest thanks to all of our wonderful and talented contributors, readers, & supporters. Thank you for keeping us all connected, no matter how far apart we may be!


Present-tense free write

With some future thoughts.

The kitten blinks shadow and yellow green,
a paw rests on me while we both sleep
the bumps on my arms – some scar, some
small boil, some keratosis are all
associated with hairs so slight as to
not be seen, but still stuck, a road map
around my body that flakes and reds, and
I do not know if it is a road not taken,
left to wander into dust and sheets.
Costumers costume, guess the decade,
a new dress and kit every day a-walking
in the village – kirtle and dress with long
slit sides, you know the half-century
by the width of waist in the long years
before the corset lounge in harsher cloth
while sweet silks greet stays in first bustle,
second, are we at the 1890s yet? I can guess
centuries, maybe monarchies, but rarely the right
decade, my sewing days are shorter now, and my
eyesight, too – when the thread breaks,
the glasses must come off, and in I lean
the better to see me with. More light,
more, a task lamp for progressives. Snip
the threads and consider a haircut – it
would be so easy to ruin my fabric scissors
along with my bangs. We all grow out.
Nails need clipping, mine, and the cat’s.
Mine are easier – softer, even as I scrub
and moisturize and scrub again. It’s the
home soap, I’m sure, not the commercial stuff.
My nails never looked so good. They’ll
have to go, of course, when I work again,
If there’s work again. A siren in the distance
there’s fewer today, as sparse as planes.
The hummingbirds seem louder with their
whirs. Sugar syrup calls. Winter ratio is four
in one, and Summer is five, to disengage the
yellow-jackets. Five, then, with a long simmer,
brown-sugared syrup for the wee birds with
blood-fire necks. And peanuts for the
crows and mohawked jays. I know the nest
is this year – that tall fir, yes? Our crows
perch in the top branches so high, and come
by for snacks at odd times, swoop in before
the squirrels, before the jays, there must
be fledglings there, and weeks yet before we
know. Blue eyes for the young ones, red mouths.
An egg, hard-boiled for them, and the shell for tomatoes.
It’s starting time for us all.

Na/GloPoMo Day Twenty-Five asks us for a present-tense free write styled (or inspired) after James Schuyler’s Hymn To Life and a writing exercise developed by Hoa Ngyuen.

Freewrites are always a balance for me between letting my mind wander and maintaining a light guide. Sometimes it is more successful than others, but most times the connections made are not what I expected them to be. Sometimes, it’s just a wander.

B is for Bindings

I’m making masks:

a seal between this face and that,
a shield between lips and my skin
from air and infection.
An aegis of old sheets and quilting
cottons is what keeps us from today’s
enemy. My stash of bias tape for ties
is depleted. The ribbon I’ve kept
from crafts long ago, the elastics
from the skirts I never made –
all gone.

Muslin tears clean,
and I’ve that, in yards,
so I rip
and fold
and sew
and turn
and my ties and tapes
build a pile like octopus legs
akimbo, a swirl and a curve,
an infinity loop
of connected cloth,
touching here – and there –
and off again, searching blind
for something to grasp

and I iron, and
hot dog of damp and dust,
this nose of cotton
under heat and steam
breaks generations over me

Ruby, Bernice, Beatrice,
my grandmother Betty, Elizabeth
the ladies who rolled bandages
for the war effort.
The B is for bindings
that tie us together.

Na/GloPoWriMo Day Twenty-Three: write a poem about a particular letter of the alphabet,

Stone Soup

I’m long in the teeth
and there isn’t much time:
accusation always follows the cat.

My teeth scratch the floor.
One afternoon in your next incarnation,
the cat will come to the tiny door.

My fingers are itching,
the sand is pouring, the carrots are cooked –
there’s no room to swing a cat.

Nothing to do, but idle,
so much dirt I sweat carrots,
look, here, I’m willing to borrow a cat’s paws.

Nothing else to do,
but hang noodles
on the forehead of a cat.

My eye went with me.
My mouth is light.
Curiosity kills the cat.

Day 22 at Na/GloPoWriMo challenges us today to find an idiom in another language and use it as a jumping off point. I got a little mired in a hodgepodge of expressions. Cats, carrots, and time.

Day Twenty-One

Perhaps I was far too literal – it wouldn’t be the first time – but today’s

prompt – homophonic translation – was terribly hard for me. What’s homophonic translation, you ask? Read (or listen!) to a poem in another language. Try to translate it using just the sounds.

Here’s what I managed:

A mini messy day –
aurora and us,
no tranquil convenient date.
The past. Days,
nights, simple presents
always fetching,

The source poem, by Florbela Espanca:


A minha mocidade outrora eu pus
No tranqüilo convento da Tristeza;
Lá passa dias, noites, sempre presa,
Olhos fechados, magras mãos em cruz…

Lá fora, a Lua, Satanás, seduz!
Desdobra-se em requintes de Beleza…
É como um beijo ardente a Natureza…
A minha cela é como um rio de luz…

Fecha os teus olhos bem! Não vejas nada!
Empalidece mais! E, resignada,
Prende os teus braços a uma cruz maior!

Gela ainda a mortalha que te encerra!
Enche a boca de cinzas e de terra,
Ó minha mocidade toda em flor!


Long ago I placed my youth
In the quiet convent of Sadness. Forever
Cloistered, it spends its days and nights
With eyes closed, frail hands in a cross…

The Moon outside, Satan, tempts me!
It blossoms into shimmers of Beauty…
Nature is like an ardent kiss…
My cell is like a river of light…

Shut tight your eyes! See nothing at all!
Turn yet paler! And, resigned,
Throw your arms around a greater cross!

Make the shroud that wraps you colder!
Fill your mouth with earth and ashes,
O my youth in your full flower!