and i am so proud of us. that’s ruth on the left, our former poetry teacher, then katherine then me. we all performed at the international women’s day poetry reading tonight. i was not looking forward to this! katherine attended last year and saw ruth read, and wanted to do it this year but wouldn’t do it alone…so she enlisted me…and i was pretty much dragging my feet about it for months. especially today; i didn’t even start picking what poems i’d read until late last night, then i slept in till 2pm and had a psychosomatic sore throat. katherine woke up with a gravelly voice too.
but we both did awesome at the reading! i’m particularly proud of her, she totally conquered her phobia and spoke very slowly and wonderfully instead of speeding through like she was afraid she might. everyone started out with a poem by another female poet, so katherine read a laurie anderson poem, then she read “over the water,” then “anesidora.”
i was proud of my voice, which was nice and loud and hardly wavered at all (when it briefly did, katherine assured me, it added to the intensity of the poem). i even made a decent amount of eye contact! i read a bunch of short poems, starting with diane ackerman’s “like your face,” then “patina,” “smelling fire,” “ouroboros,” “crocus cultivars,” then i ended with my poem “katherine” because she was the next person to read. “crocus cultivars” went over particularly well—it’s about the onset of springtime, written from the perspective of crocus flowers:
Our mighty faces are springtime.
Our hearts lie dormant in beds of ice
to awaken and laugh with you
at winter’s pathetic death-rattles.
Flocks of us gather to chase the last freeze,
some withered casualties falling heroically
to the battleground. We pull the Sun closer to Earth,
the last line got a big laugh, and after the reading people came up and quoted it to me…it was so cute and fun! one woman requested a copy of “smelling fire,” which i just wrote this week…i was pretty nervous about reading it because it hasn’t been workshopped yet, and i wrote it at five in the morning, and all signs point to it not making a whole lot of sense to anyone but me:
In a mountain range full of winter, a man’s face crops itself sharply from the black canvas of his inner cabin. It is rabbit, tonight, and vanishing. The clouds are whirling dervishes to block the moon. I hunch, waiting warmly for the eggs cradled in my clavicles to hatch. They fall apart despite me, freeze and fall apart as if they sensed the height. It is rabbit, tonight. The fog forms lines and we bend through them as light. I answered a question tonight.
but this woman actually seemed to get it. i gave her the copy i read from. she said my poetry is way too mature for my age, and that made me feel better, because i was the youngest person to read by at least a decade and i was feeling kind of juvenile. especially in the midst of so many extremely good poets who have so much of their work published in journals and things…i felt out of my league.