For the Queen of Kindness

Arlene Naganawa

I made a wreath of leaves,
each leaf a light.

A breathing forest floor.
A flicker knocking.

A funnel web I didn’t recognize.
Sunlight drove into the rocks,

rose but with a yellow in it.


We wrote into each other’s lines
like sisters

our poems of other worlds.


I sealed a nickel in a walnut shell.
I made a lemon into a pig,

cloves for luck, penny cut
into its silent jaw.

The stone. The flower. Softly.

You protected yourself
and loved small.

Lily wilting like wet silk.
Candles listless and unbearable.

(Italicized lines from Toni Morrison)

Arlene Naganawa

Arlene Naganawa's work appears recently in Waxwing, Washington 129, The Seattle Review of Books, Belletrist, Barnstorm, and All the Sins. Her chapbooks include Private Graveyard (Gribble Press), The Scarecrow Bride (Red Bird Chapbook), and The Ark and the Bear (Floating Bridge Press.) She is the recipient of 2020 awards from Artist Trust and City Arts (Seattle) and is a Writer in the Schools with Seattle Arts and Lectures.

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