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Limbs elongated 

to the point of illusion, 


a woman is fashioned 

into a line. She rises above me, 


with all the grace of her geometry.                                       

The pitted marks in the bronze 


seem intimate—every surface dimpled

by a fingerprint. I carry her image


in my mind, touching her metal flesh

to mesh her skin and mine. Years later and far 


from home, I see another sculpture by the artist: 

A smooth, writhing bug splayed open at the neck. Woman 


with Her Throat Cut. Femme égorgée. Woman 

with her spine arched, woman 


with her legs bent, split as if giving birth, woman 

with her head thrown back, mouth open 


as if she could be laughing.






Walking the plains, I feel 

dread. All that menacing 

open sky. Buzzards spy 

me from above, trace 

the whole of my figure, see 

through my skin, know me. 

I move under the cover 

of rock, into a nature-made 

void. Deep in the cold stone, 

the looking is all mine. I feel 

the root of my tongue rise 

up toward its roof. My eyes 

sink deep into their sockets. 

I envision scenarios of 

disaster: revolts of smoke, 

water, wind. The body plots 

against itself, brewing 

conspiracies. I’m a vile mother 

to thoughts. I send them 

out to be eaten by predatory 

birds, but they flow back 

at night with the jabber

of the stream. I made a fire 

to burn the thoughts, 

but there were birds’ eyes 

swirled in the wood grain, 

and they watched me. No    

more fire. No light. 

My thoughts press against 

me in the dark. I turn 

my back to the cave mouth.

All is well and good, I say 

to the cave. The echo 

mouth speaks when spoken 

to: All is well and good.


Lauren Winchester's poems have appeared in The JournalPassages NorthTHRUSHTYPOBOAAT, and elsewhere. She has been awarded artist in residency fellowships by the Edward Albee Foundation, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Oak Spring Garden Foundation. She received her MFA in poetry from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

ISSN 2632-4423

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