She, sister who reads
this poem
by Andrena Zawinski

…I know you are reading this poem because
there is nothing else left to read /
there where you have landed…
—Adrienne Rich

I imagine you standing at the stove on a breathy night before
an open window, breeze flirting crisp white kitchen curtains,
one hand at the hip, the other stirring soup, tasting, adding
a bit of basil and lemon thyme. Imagine you musing about
this poem as it quiets like a child off in the next room into
something. Something taking your attention, startling, stirring
outside the lines of unshorn weeds choking flowering sage
you will get to once you have read this poem again, rising
from bed, words blurring your eyes in a half-wake state,
some foggy mess of meaning you chase after and cannot catch.

I imagine you, she who reads this poem, stirring toward the day
ahead, alone and unafraid, surefooted along a sandy beach, past
sandcastles, shells, tossed limbs and bulbs of seaweed at your feet,
all part of the poem. Imagine another woman, the invisible one
pushing a broom through dusk lit halls, poem in the pocket of a
cleaning cart next to disinfectant spray. And the borrowed woman,
poem tucked at the back of a stroller rolled out to the walk, she
reading this poem at water’s edge, arms flung wide to morning.

I imagine you, sister who reads this poem, braving a ridge line along
the bay on your own, poem pulled from a backpack at night’s campfire
then carted carefully back to the pup tent like a child quieted,
belly full of hobo stew and s’mores. Like a wind so soft it passes
barely noticed across a piney wood, I imagine you, she who reads
this poem, barely stirring yet part of the poem, its fire and its flames.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 2.

Andrena ZawinskiAndrena Zawinski’s third and recently released full poetry collection is Landings. Her poems have received accolades for free verse, form, lyricism, spirituality, and social concern. She is Features Editor at and founded and runs the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon.

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