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Portia Elan

Baby I built a ship for so many reasons.

Ghazal for the Body X

All the things are made of wine I say all!
We crush & ferment & here I am drunk.

I wanted to be quiet but.
I wanted to be kind.

The knots are too easy or too hard
& the sails unfurl like a surprise.

Lights off to keep the moths from throwing
their bodies against the glass & I never get to see them.

Keep the doors open and the entryway
clear, please.

Open open crushed & open & growing
& open & open:

It would be easy / to mistake silence for assent.
The mountain & I are excellent examples of this.

The Cutting of Strings is the Providence of Women

I am set sail in a ship bound from these fields to those mountains,

a ship I made from my own stomach & my own need.
Women stand on the decks of their ships with spools in their hands & lovers on the docks

the other end & unwinding unwinding as the bodies move apart.
Baby I built a ship for so many reasons.

In the fields the irrigation runs until the water pressure falls & I
tell myself to look for rattlers, walking out here like this, ship moored for now.

The spool runs out or the string is cut or someone lets go.
Lets. Three drops of blood for the barbed wire fence

& hope I’ve had the shot for lockjaw lock jaw
in the last few years.

How long I have been ready for this journey.
Three drops of blood for the barbed wire & a spool of thread for you.

I am setting out in a ship of my own making,
stomach & need,

opening, west over the mountains
my mouth a set of shears—

this one last poem for you.

Portia Elan lives & writes in Northern California with her Gemini cat. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter, iO, PANK, Birdfeast, ILK, & others.