Aralee

they had a wake

for aralee strange

in a bar

where university poets

showed up to behave

like academic sharks

sparring with street poet jets

i sat beside a man who was

a monolithic Jewish Poseidon professor

on a funeral date

wrong for me

i,

equally wrong for he

though it doesn’t keep me from missing him

weeping openly

in a room full of

a species of staue

films of her played

as her southern voice caused

candlelit

unbloomed lily buds

in table vases

to burst open

1984

you should’ve stuck around, Dad

antidepressants were only

a few years away

or smoked pot

hell,

it’s so ironically wrong that you obliterated yourself

in Kentucky

when marijuana

was the top cash crop

in the state

planchette

there’s a reading chair

i won’t allow to die

propped up with

an old Royal Typewriter case

where i drift off

dreaming unafraid

of slow-moving tornadoes

& your whispering face

weighing scientifically

which is more destructive

.

you’re haunting me

as promised

but not so much i feel put upon

which i know

you would hate

(artwork by Stephen Mackey)

How Isabella Conquers Her World

you have descended

from indigenous medicine women

and girl scout goddesses

you came into this life

with power that takes growing

into

head held high

with strong female role models

confidence you will cultivate

by surviving pain

rising to challenges

you’re finding out

you’re stronger than you know

by

creating your own peace

owning your joy

making happiness your choice

remembering you have endured

their belittling words

because

they need to feel better than you

because they have nothing to be proud

how sad is that

pity them

waste no time on bitterness

take comfort

people like this are their own reward

you will rise above their words

you will outlive their petty hearts

the world fears all shades of women and girls

who believe in themselves

do not ever give a bad person

the power

to make you feel like

you are less

to make you ashamed of the way you are woven into the fabric of our universe

or that it is anything but

perfectly divine

to be you

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