by Allie Rigby


Where I am from, women have broken
fingernails that dig in the dirt
like badgers, looking for bones. Bones
mean yes, a lovely spot for pansies.
Plant two there. We scrub our hands
before dinner. We get the dead
dirt rubbed off our palms like it was bad,
what we did in the garden.
It’s always bad, what we do (in the garden.)

We water bone-grown flowers
with heads hung heavy like bells,
all wet and droopy like sad snails.
We water and water and keep watering,
water until it feels better, our heavy heads.
Mama says it will feel better. Keep watering.
And I always do what mama says.
When we are done watering, we dig
and scrub our hands before dinner.
It is hard to get dirt (in the garden)
off the bones and then we eat.

sea slug

i watched hermit crab silhouettes, three, just the triangle shells
sail through painted pools, ignorant of sunset above and my phone battery had died
before i caught a picture of the colors and the clouds. 

i held a sea slug three sizes too big. it sunk, oily and drooping like pizza dough, stretched to the tide-pools from whence it came.

i have slipped on dead man’s fingers before, and laughed at how the tiny cuts sting most.

When It’s Gone
sun going down, bright light
i want to sip it. Gulped life down
like good-for-me yogurt.

remember at sunset
how I used to soar?
when my fingers ache
arthritis I cry. cannot
imagine the pain
of not knotting.

Honey Jars II

To chew a papery thought is a bee.
She transfixes paper into spitballs,
thoughts wadded in pulp – stuck
like legs in tar mistaken for water.

She watches – no – envies pollen-studded bees,
all the sex flying gold across the orange.
Sweet nectar sway, so easy to miss
the thick thoughts and sticky time.

It’s always the shiny words that glisten
that feel like the words with wings.  
Fast breathy expressions are honey.
Slow mumbles glow with poetic taste.

Let rest, the hive. Like mead in glass,
the clarity: pour words into honeycomb cells,
seal the hive with red wax. They too might
sweeten and one day, stir thick, like syrup.

The Artist

Listen to what she says.
Her name is warm chill.
Her name is little mess.
Her name is salt in your eyes.
In art circles and congress
listen to what she says.
Her name is vinegar moth.
Her name is pickled herring.

In public and private, it’s as if
the rubber band holding
her nimble bimble body
is about to snap. So keep not
listening to all the things
you do not want to hear.

About the Author:

Allie Rigby is a Bay Area poet based in cow country. Conversations and encounters with the wild stir her hunger for meaning in the meaningless. Sacred Ground Café in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood is her favorite place to read her work.