by Rose Maria Woodson

Learn early.  

The   things you hate to press. 

Pleats.    Tempera-

mental fabrics.   Crepe.   Linen.    Ego. 

Learn.  The weight of beauty. 

The corseted  id.  Better

not  be.  Magnetic.  Not 

draw base men spent & angled,

whose tongues out wrangle your  tongue,

leave nicotine & rum wafers

dissolving  in your mouth.  Yourself.

Better buried. 

Bury your bones.

Bury your name. 

Never be recalled.  

Burrow  in cool earth.  

Deeply anonymous.  

Cover proud flesh.



Chill closes   in,  brings

small dead things.   Twigs, fallen

leaves.   Bleeding

trees. See what is always

underfoot,  litter pinwheels, old

newspapers, cigarette butts, buttons, condoms.

Trash, woozy in the rising,

seeks shelter against  a fence.

The world grows colder. 

Windows shut.  An old wag

of a tree is stripped, as crazy strong wind rips leaves,

grips them by their skinny throats &

whips them into adios.



Mud daubers live underground.  Some sort of

a smile sediments in the canyon in your eyes.

One day you will be

discovered, like a ‘60s  girl group,

da-do-ron-ron-ron  chickweed wild,

in a dry bed,

of a river no longer.  You will be known past,

tense .  A falling


star.  Until then,

wrap wool around your skinny.  

Truth itches.  Dream chiffon.

Ebb.   Shiver.

Moths,  go to hell.

Shivering,  pull on hulls. 

Husks crackling  past lives.    

Finally   moss. Silent

as snow.  Moss waits for yes,

forgives,  loves each small skin sin, 

kisses you soft,  the only soft thing  you hold against you. 



The river.

You braid  your dreams into  a  basket.

Hang it on a  crescent moon.

Crickets serenade.

Lemongrass sighs.

All your moments make sense now,

swim together like Yellow Tang.

The sun embraces your back.

Your shadow is born.

Loves you to death.

You know now, you were the only one who knew,

that night,

no is not a river,

no is a rock.