Carleasa A. Coates



The paddles left bright
black marks that we
all thought were bruises.
As time passed

and your heart found its rhythm,
flipped, and flopped, clipped, and clopped
the bruises did not fade
but flamed at the edges ember red.

In more days,
so many more lightless days,
you rose & walked back
toward our life.

Even now, from the gap of dream,
in fit-filled turns,
you whisper,

Who was that called me?
Who was that raised me?
Who was that, I say, who was
that marked me?



The first stone cracked my head and white light flowed
down my face.
The second stone broke my heart and fire jumped out
my mouth.
The third stone, well, the third stone killed me.

When the stone throwers were gone,
the third stone, yes, the third stone split open.
My brothers, my sisters flew
out on the wings of blue stars,
breathed life into my fractures. I rose.
I rose up.



Fox, the world speeds past.
But I, I wait. I wait
for you to crest
the hill.

I hear you carry stories,
clumped into folds
of your bloodied fur.

Come into my shelter.
I will cut you free,
lay your words
in the cell of memory
and I,
I will give you mine.



Under the full, fat moon, the young deer eat
tender, sweet grass at the highway’s edge.

I wonder why they come so close
to the eighteen wheelers running fast.

Later I watch you pat your pocket
for the gold band, slip it on, turn,

smile over your left shoulder. And my heart,
who I am, flies toward you,

toward the edge of what
I do not own, what I must possess.

Judy Jashinsky
Oil on linen • 50 x 52 • 2007
See more work by Judy Jashinsky


She is the crossing
..............between ether and earth

With her one good eye
..............she is the seer in all directions

Wasn't it she who lit our way
..............home with bright flames of song

Wasn't she the one whose shadow
..............rained gold

Who pitched shelter in a ribbon of words

Didn't she really carry us all



Carleasa A. Coates is a writer, poet and trial lawyer who lives and works in Washington, DC.


Published in Volume 9, Number 2, Spring 2008.