Given a leopard-spotted agate
for courage and grounding, a star;
I rubbed it between my fingers and turned it round and round
I thought, how much is this like me?
Smooth and beautiful when held one way,
sharp-edged and pointy when held another,
white and black, black and white,
uneven, irregular, yet perfectly integrated.
They said it was a gift from my mother,
and my grandmother, and I wept,
because I’d never been taught,
never been taught that being a woman was a gift.
My womanhood, then, I must give to myself, claim it,
for it has been waiting, like the agate,
formed by fire in the deepest earth,
shaped and cut, but unbreakable.



Sprinkled over perhaps-exhausted soil
with equal parts hope and fear
Watered haphazardly with secret dreams, and
the occasional energetic cloudburst of serious effort;
but then neglected until they turn brown ’round
the edges, until the ache of them brings on new
storms of tears.
Some I planted long ago and then forgot;
they sprout and green up like volunteer corn
in what I though was my field lying fallow,
like a gift, a string around my finger,
a tug at the hem of my ambition.
I will put it on the back of my hand
where I can see it,
where I will remember: Keep the light shining.
Hack out the deadwood, yank at the thorny weeds
that threaten to choke out the