By Elizabeth Woody b. 1959 Elizabeth Woody
Filled with old lovers, in the clutch of the chair,
you are a bloom of uncombed hair.

With a collection of roses, bowls of mashed petals,
I make a clear cup of sky.
Fold away clouds. Roll up blankets of blue.
I am a body of empty husks.
Indian corn is in your hair, the tassels,
the pollen, fertility.

Indelible ink is tattooing our lungs.
We speak smoke.
We exchange our lunacy for reverence.
Respect tornados.
Windy Woman. Four Winds.

We have extended the edge of expectation
by merely living.

You have tallied compulsion
into currency.

I am measured by the excitement
my lips stir.
I am the bin for castoffs and the weary.
I wear my veil.
I have no children,
but you have many.
You dream of heaven and they all run up to meet you.

Elizabeth Woody, “Girlfriends” from Luminaries of the Humble. Copyright © 1994 by Elizabeth Woody. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

Source: Luminaries of the Humble (University of Arizona Press, 1994)

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Poet Elizabeth Woody b. 1959

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Living, Relationships, Friends & Enemies


An enrolled member of the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs in Oregon, Elizabeth Woody was born in Ganado, Arizona. She studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and earned a BA in the humanities from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and a Masters in Public Administration from the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. Her collections of poetry include Hand . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Relationships, Friends & Enemies

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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