Wendy Howe

The  priests said  the holy breathe and live on through inscription.
From studies on the ancient dead.

Egyptian-braided, eyes ringed with kohl and linen gathered
with a grass belt, she feels the power of being brown skinned
and Nile long — connecting an end with a beginning,
an upper class with a lower.

Today, she is boundless, unafraid to surpass
stop or yield, unafraid of  being suddenly caught
or shot. She has already been  there — in the east section
of the city where  blue gods lurk among its ruins
looking for those who look guilty.  Where the closest thing
to  a fountain is a hydrant busted while green clusters
in-between slabs of cracked pavement. Not to mention how pigeons
wade in damp shadows and debris.  And to think

there once were  papyrus leaves and an ibis scanning the river
to bless and clean its waters. Her ancient sisters knew
of his sacred instinct and worshipped the bird; their names are painted
with hers on a warehouse wall that overlooks the beach. And along with them,
those who persuaded her. Hand maidens of poverty who came
with white powder and a copper spoon. The flick of a lighter that slowly melted
gray matter into pure spirit. The burn-down of  sun that eventually left
the girl as a depiction on cement.



Wendy Howe is an English teacher and freelance writer who lives in Southern California Her poetry reflects her interest in myth, diverse landscapes and ancient cultures. Over the years, she has been published in an assortment of journals both on-line and in print. Among them: The Linnet’s Wings, Ariadne’s Thread, Mirror Dance, Strange Horizons, Niteblade, Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Scheherezade’s Bequest, and Yellow Medicine Review. Some of her latest work will be forthcoming in The Peacock Journal and Poetry Pacific.