We are very excited to announce this new initiative, in which we will be featuring writers -- known and unknown -- whose work is tough, beautiful vulnerable and focused on creatively working toward the common good. As the Sufis say: "Words spoken from the mouth will never get past the ears, but words spoken from the heart, enter the heart." We feature such heart-speakers.
Editor: Leah Block
by Katherine Dye
A woman must continually watch herself.
Is it “I” or eye? Choose one:
“I”/eye see the men in the street. They see me.
(If they look away,)
“I”/eye will disappear.
“I”/eye will never have existed.
“I”/eye am a figment to others and myself.
(My body is hollow flesh.)
“I”/eye exist forever
(in that moment between bloom and over ripeness.)
“I”/eye inhabit a brittle world
(before the spoken word.
My body becomes real.)
“I”/eye become object.
“I”/eye become me.
You speak and “I”/eye am you.
(Your eyes turn me into meat,)
while “I”/eye am my own butcher.
Broken Bread Sestina
by Michaela Zelie
My mother teaches me how to knead
the dough. With the heel
of her hands, her body lifting,
she teaches me that the body
“Is like pieces
Of a puzzle, two people, just fit.”
She teaches me how to fit
the dough into the space above the fridge. “It needs
to rise,” as she tucks a piece
of hair behind my ear. I push off my heels,
press my body
into hers. I ask to lift
the towel. She says “lifting
it too soon won’t allow it rise.” Its like trying to fit
of myself into others without realizing I need-
to let myself heal
in between. My body
isn’t meant to fit with everybody.
It’s been ½ a decade now, of lifting
my body from mattresses, searching for heal-
ing, searching for something that fits.
½ a decade of need-
ing to find the right pieces.
2 years since someone forced pieces
of himself into my body
and since then I have need-
ed the control that comes with lifting
myself away from people who don’t fit.
I haven’t learned how to heal.
I have begun to think of heal-
ing as an unattainable peace.
I have begun to question if anything will ever fit
into this body
the way my mother said it should, in a way that lifts
me up rather than leaves me needing.
She couldn’t teach me how to heal, or where my body fit
as easily as she could teach me how to knead or how to lift
the dough, break it into pieces, slide them into pans.