a gentle rocking with no boat
and no water. Some ancient
lullaby threaded through the
metronome of hips. Pendulum
of flesh to quiet the cries of
babies never born, already
born, not born quite yet. Her
breast an offering even to
a lover to fill the mouth,
quench the thirst, pacify the
restless animal living in his
every cell. She will recognize
pain without words, wrap
herself around it, wrestle
it to the ground, tender
warrior. She needs no bul-
lets, knives, drones, she
absorbs them, unthreads the
needle of violence done in
the name of anyone, anything,
and sews instead a warming
quilt. She harvests the garden,
hears faraway music often and
without warning sees the child
in us each by each, humming
a quiet tune underneath her
breath for the broken ones.


There are many ways to begin
not just paper and pen
sometimes screen and puffy chair,
soft blanket, warm coffee,
old mug.

Many ways to grieve, she
says and you reach back to
recall the pulsing river of
tears, salted undercurrent
of everything, even now,

even when joy takes you
over, when you laugh out
loud unbelieving, when
pelicans in flight form-
ation are just too magical
to be true, their low dance
of symmetry almost too much
to bear. this water, these

laughing children, sharp
crackling sun. all of it
on the head of a pin.
There are many
ways to begin.

photo by norm

Poems on this page are copyrighted by Beth Wood and have been published by Mezcalita Press, LLC.


A deep south coffee shop on Sunday
is a ghost town. So welcome to these
ears tired of all professing. Three salt
and pepper men sit in the corner whis-
pering words—I assume bible study—
but further into my eavesdropping I
recognize they are sharing poetry. “I
wrote this last July, just before Mom
fell,” I overhear. Grown men offering
up careful internal weavings right here
in public. I smile into my coffee cup.
I am convinced the world can go on.

Ladder cover