Her pixie mouth leaves a half-moon
of pale flesh exposed on tender ruby skin.
Bittersweet juice coats her lips like honey,
glossy sheen in sunlight.
The tip of her tongue wipes clean the evidence
while her fingers clutch the fruit, round,
nearly-whole, weighing down her palm
until it slides & hits the dirt: thunk.
The garden alights as though a sepia filter removed.
For the first time, her pupils dilate
& take in her world: no filter.
Women weep across the pages of the Old Testament;
tear drops smear letters like kohl lines their eyes.
Cries for barren wombs, ungrateful sons, daughters
sold to hard-hearted men, stolen infants, tented days
of uncleanliness, dead-ends, still-births, prostitution,
sacrifices gone out of control.
Thousands of years
pass and today women’s tears still stain open Bibles,
the saltiness blurring words and promises of red-letter
text. Addictions to pills, alcohol, depression, affairs,
empty stomachs, young girls yearning to grow up
too soon, rebellious children, difficult in-laws, broken
vows echo those still-same sobs of our foremothers.
We live now as sisters in spirit, love, and grace.
[Queen of Sheba]
Keep the spice rack full.
In the kitchen, the aroma quivers,
the mood shivers: sweet on Saturdays,
bitter on Wednesdays, curried Fridays.
An assault on the senses in four
bottled shelves. The rack sags,
bows. With a crack, it quakes:
cayenne, cumin, paprika, mustard
seed, onion seed, garlic, nutmeg
cinnamon, clove, oregano —
the spice-cloud hovers, thick, salty
coating every surface, like ash,
with a fine dusting of flavor.
Scritch-scratch of blue ink on computer paper.
Ink stains my wrist, the spot under my
lower lip, the button of my cream dress.
Cross out half the page,
start again with familiar
words telling the same story over.
I get a high by deleting without
the backspace key, in seeing both
the replaced and the replacing.
Two stories on the page, words
from before hidden behind solid strike
outs imprinted on every line.
I leave a physical mark on each page, see
the first and the next, already reaching for
another color to uncover the third.
When ordering tea, I like to say
“Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.”
to see if the barista cracks a smile