magic in the pieces

i fancied myself mended,
kintsugi heart
cleaved with gold
turns out the mortar was weak,
beautiful crumbling dribs and drabs
caught in muslin,
prescient, i
made a tramp’s package
studiously knotting
all the broken bits
contained, no longer
beautiful to gaze upon
but they jingle-jangle
as i run
and i guess
that’s its own kind
of magic

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017


one spring day,
not this one,
i took sweet Charlie to the vet
for the last time;
a small thing
we all do,

she was special,
my Charlie,
who arrived to a Bad Marriage
and was Love incarnate,
letting toddlers pull her lips
and try to ride her…
so loved we got a second dog,
her younger sister…
running away in her older years
because she was deaf
and my voice no longer
penetrated her obsession
with food,

and then,
old, and sick,
she was caught in the middle
of The End,

a marriage marinated in alcohol
battles for custody
manipulations grand and microscopic
and one little dog,
rheumy-eyed and stinking,
slowly dying,

until that day,
four-year-old crying
“mama kicks Charlie”
the usual denials,
the lack of proof,
my heart,

i remembered all the times
in denial,
i had heard X muttering drunkenly
in the kitchen,
“i hate these damn dogs”
Charlie, as ever,
underfoot when food was at hand,

Charlie’s sister died of cancer;
a long process
of peeing blood and incontinence
doggy diapers
specialist visits
iv’s and needle aspirations
painful and, in the end
for nothing,

then, one year later,
in the middle of a war zone
Charlie started peeing blood
she became incontinent
“mama kicks Charlie,”
a small voice telling
a big truth,

when my week came
i took my little boys in my arms
and told them Charlie was sick
and soon would go to see her sister
they cried
they accepted
as children do,

i split my heart in two
one half strong and capable,
taking my sweet Charlie one last time
to the park,
the other half climbing a high tower
in an unfamiliar castle,
searching for a way
to survive,

i found a homing pigeon,
waiting atop the tower,
head cocked in perpetual question,
eye blinking at me

i had never sent a message
by pigeon,
but this pigeon seemed capable enough
so i pulled a red crayon from my pocket
and drew half a heart
on a bit of gum wrapper,
rolled it into a tiny scroll,
and placed it on the castle wall,

the pigeon took my burden
and spoke to me,
which also did not seem strange,
“i will find you in the future,
and bring your message home”

with the relief of feeling only half the pain,
Charlie and i made the final journey
where i dropped her off at the door
and did not accompany her
just a quick kiss,
and “see you later my little love,”
knowing i would not,

time passed
the divorce was finalized
life moved on
became more stable
the kids became happier,
and by some miracle
i found love,

perhaps it is five years to the day
but my mind won’t remember it
so i couldn’t say for sure
but last night,
i awoke to the sound of tapping,
and there was the pigeon,
head cocked,
waiting at my window,

she had come home to roost
bearing my broken heart
across time,
writ in crayon
on old gum wrapper
precious only to me,
i took the message in shaking hands
and cried,
feeling the full weight of guilt
and regret,
why had i not gone with Charlie,
to the end?

i understood at last
that survival sometimes requires
imperfect solutions;
Charlie, stoic as she was,
would forgive me,
and at some point,
i will forgive myself.

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017


i yearn to carve
into subjugation,
stretch skin over bone
drum beat truth
from the dark,
name it

but these lips
they don’t speak
so they’ll
sing you a song,
full bodied
’til i’m done

i buried
pain in the back yard
except the bits i flushed
with the goldfish
even now
hard to

shame coils
at my feet
now i am
a snake charmer…
come shame,
dance me
hum me

shame sticks
to skin
stings the eyes
tar and chlorine
if i were feathered
i could fly

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apocalyptic dreaming

i am apocalyptic
hospital green corridors
(always hospitals in nightmares)
why are women so bitchy?
not all women, sure,
but so many
eating each other
not joyfully,
“who put raisins in this?”

the humid, claustrophobic
left, right,
no exit because this is
a goddamn
victorian hospital
might as well be
daedalus’s labyrinth
and ariadne won’t share
her thread
with the competition

i am screaming now
not fear
fucking ariadne
how lost we are
i see you
i see you
give me your hand
just this once
and we will all be free
no need to slay the minotaur
after all

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back to the secret spot
wind on face
whipping tears and mascara
into horizontal
fault lines
no use, sunglasses
inadequate to shield,
huge hipster frames,
in this secret place,
she hugs herself
against the coming storm
back to tree
face to sea
watching stripes of rain on the horizon
the salty smell
seaweed and dead fish
wet dog shaking
gull crying
she knows something is about to happen
but, as always, her vision
is impaired
heart pounds
breath comes ragged and choked
but not
grasping meaning
until only hazy memory

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yawned and
g   a  p  e  d
swallowed lives
easy as inhaling

she was


fingers frozen into
question marks
she felt


her face knew the act
nod and smile
an automaton
murmuring reassurance
singing lullabies
forever and forever
calling into the wind


she hid the


of her soul
until whispers
her malaise


she blinked,
her image
once more.

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017


not lost, buried
behind a supermarket in the suburbs
shed like skin
crevasses searching
for signs of life
lying awake, in the dark
listening to the beating heart of life
waiting for the call
of sun and sparrow
when tendrils burst
from sidewalks and parking lots

shattered hope
scattered earthward
waits out winter
and watches
not lost,
only buried

awaken now,
as green and gold reprimand
strong as love
and dandelions
to turn away

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2016

in the long shadow of dawn

my heart
skips and flutters
pebbles across turbulent waves
then sinks
deep deep
landing in a hot pit
not exactly despair
heightened senses scanning,
nostrils twitching,
scenting predators,
don’t fail me now
I am fight
I am flight
wishing for wings
to spread across the landscape
to shield my own
to fly us into the horizon
but escape is a fairy tale
I tell my children
as we crouch in the shadows
watching wolves

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i lie

writing pain,
like watching
scalpel slice soft flesh,
warm liquid oozing
in the direction
of consciousness
making visible
the unpalatable
knowledge of weakness
of having not overcome
even in the absence
of danger

my conceit
thinks me strong,
pats me on the back
and cries “skol!”

i clink the chalice
and watch a spider vein
traverse the once-clear
skin of glass;
never mind
i have other skins,
a skein of catgut
and a needle

i lie,
i lie,
there’s only this one,
and i’m not done with it

1Sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016