Girlfriends

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)
More Poems by Elizabeth Woody