Bio Note: Hello, fellow poets. It's a pleasure to be in such good company here with you. I wrote this poem during a workshop I was leading at the Casper Literary Conference in April. The poem just fell onto my page from an opening in the sky, and when I read it I realized that even though I'd been writing it for/to myself, I was really writing it for all women who have glued themselves, their families, communities, and nations together during this long, strange COVID year. All gratitude to Mary Oliver, after whose poem, "Wild Geese," this poem was penned. --Lori Howe, M.F.A., Ph.D., University of Wyoming Honors College.
—after Mary Oliver You do not have to be every woman who has ever lived. You do not have to be a swan in tulle, a silent movie ballerina cloaked in bioscopic grace, toes bleeding invisibly into the cups of your shoes. You do not have to be a Siren in blue satin, every golden strand in place. You do not have to be luminous as a watch dial in the dark quiet of these strange days. You must only be able to breathe in the rain, to let your face find what it loves, to open your hands to this spring's snow, to welcome it with heat and light. You do not have to freeze, green-veined as marble, for lack of touch. Two-thousand miles away, pelicans open their prehistoric mouths above a turquoise sea, thinking only to solve the equations of hunger and fish, of what it means to be whole. Whoever you are, you'll be someone else tomorrow. Today, you are nestled down in the extraordinary forest of your own body; a creature warm and quiet, you are already home.
©2021 Lori Howe
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