I am a mosaic of Emerald Isle,
Italian leather and gypsy song.
I am swirls of magic,
Stories my grandmother told in Slovak,
a foreign language she lived in,
but never taught us.
I am salt. I am water.
Flowing blue to green,
dancing calm to chaos in a white foam dress.
I did not root in mountain mud
like an evergreen, but in sand,
like a pitch pine or orchid
moving with fire and breeze
in the barrens of New Jersey.
I am the woman
stepping off the known trail
into the dunes, a maze of mirage.
I am a delta,
where the Mississippi kisses the Gulf,
a slow approach to open water.
I am running to the horizon
not stopping to think
about what waits
at the intersection of water and sky.
Found Words and Phrase on the Minneapolis Skyway
These twin cities don’t look exactly the same.
Like you and your sister—
her red hair to your brown.
She speaks with her right hand,
you always go left.
Her scientific logic questions
your emotional language.
She seeks wide fields—
corn stalks swaying.
Her husband saves the hen house
from foxes roaming the night.
You want stacked, vertical living,
one a.m. conversations
in a standing-room only bar.
Sun rising over steel.
Choose your wings carefully
and tell her to do the same.
No need for separate exits—
you will fly together
to the Mississippi River of your childhood—
far south from here—
where you splashed each other,
then toward one another
knowing your parallel paths will somehow cross on this skyway,
a labyrinth connecting the past to the present,
a sanctuary for you both.
You breathe in tandem like these cities
no matter how many miles are between you.
You know, she knows
where one ends and the other begins
even as the sky fills with snow.
After Ho Xuan’s Huong’s “Questions for the Moon”
Why so much darkness in space?
Are you ever jealous of the sun?
Why do daughters often repeat their mothers’ journeys?
Will you whisper gypsy magic to me?
Will you share the secret to your cycles?
Do you understand we crave your freedom?
Does it excite you to orbit the Earth?
What does it feel like to spin on your own axis?
Dawn Leas is the author of the poetry collection Take Something When You Go (Winter Goose Publishing) and the chapbook I Know When to Keep Quiet (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in journals such as Cumberland River Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Goldwakepress.org, Willows Wept Review, Clear Poetry, Poetry in Transit, Southern Women’s Review, Literary Mama, San Pedro River Review, Connecticut River Review and others. She has recently left the 9-5 world and has jumped back into the self-employed writing world.