original poetry

Beds I Have Slept In

I suppose before memory, I slept in a dresser drawer. The safest bed while storms raged was my mother’s. Then came the first bed of sex, moonlit and snowy, the bed of marriage, strange beds and a bed too large for one.

I gaze through the lacy windows at the red bird in the new snow and think of my death bed. Is it the final slumber or just a napping spot until my lovers find me again sleeping in a dresser drawer?

Emily Florence



Standing on the causeway, she looked for the downtown bus. The acid sun pricked at her so she focused on the hibiscus, also an angry red. After work, the rain was heavy. He couldn’t pick her up. Too busy, he said.

When he left her arms at night though she couldn’t say why, she cried. She took up smoking and drinking now and then while the war escalated.

Emily Florence



Your hand rests at the small of my back, your fingers brushing my skin like grasses caught in a warm breeze. The breeze becomes an arid gale, sweeping us over the desert, curtained by the moon so only lovers can see.

We traverse the perception of the night and return intact as the new light seeps in, but for the pale blossom of a saguaro and an eagle feather, so subtle, they do not touch.

Emily Florence



The palest of yellow, I place them in a clear ginger jar. With unassuming beauty, they shoot up from the earth like comets, do not protest when I bring them inside and do not whimper when they begin to fade. In the coolness of my room, delicate, sweet and wild, they show me how to be.

Emily Florence


The Woman’s Room

In Saudi’s Arabia, women are punished for infidelity by being locked in a room constructed in her own home, soundproofed, a hole in the center for waste and a slot in the door for food to be passed through. She remains there until death, never to hear the sound of another human voice. Many go mad and all die within a short span of time. Her fate is decided by her father or her husband. Not all men choose this punishment. It is called the Woman’s Room. 

 I will be your silent subjugate, my father, your dominion I assume. Give me another way to compensate and save me from the woman’s room. 

My lover gave me a silvered mirror, the reflection showing a different fate. Your legacy to me is to corner and trap in this suspended state.  

From my cocoon I am metamorphic on wings of maroon and deepest teal. In flight I transcend the Arabic, my sisters caught in the spokes of a wheel. 

 I will scream until the truth is unveiled, until hooded eyes have been impaled. 

Emily Florence  



Her Hands

They soothed my brow, curled my hair and filled my lunchbox. My feet on cold linoleum, they made eggs with hard edges.

They did laundry in a tub that would freeze on the line and grew corn and beans to fill our hungry mouths. 

 They sewed midnight dresses for parties and dances, simple creations held with loving stitches.

They could turn into fists, blood and trust running out. Whose hands had soothed and then weaponed against her? 

At the end of her life when words had no meaning, we spoke in our tactile way, as I massaged her worn hands with creams and painted her nails the color of love. 

Emily Florence





The lion king past his prime still commanded glory, ignored by those unable to see his scars from ancient battles. The lioness wandered from a different strata searching for familiar grounds.

They circled, smelled the scent of forgotten lives, then joined. She licked his amber coat and feared the salty taste. He sank his teeth into the softness of her neck, drank the warmth and took what he thought was his.

 The jungle-gods screamed as they watched her body rise from the dust and lope into the red sky with a heart of thunder.

Emily Florence


Pears and Dreams

We planted a pear tree near the back gate. Through the summer we watered it and dreamed of a life in Johnson Canyon, red rocks and sage trees to color our lives.

The nights are tinged with coolness now and the pear tree is a golden brown. Our dream fades into that place where dreams winter because they are, after all, an illusion. 

Next year pears, as yellow and sweet as summer light, will grace the branches, reminding me of the possibility of dreams, some to be forgotten and others becoming as real as the taste of cool fruit in my mouth.

Emily Florence