Each Goodnight


[Image: page 1 of “State Change” by Ken Liu. Most of the text has been blacked out. The remainder reads:

Every night there were two,
one and one refilled
life and soul
the chorus of touch
kept open
held close]

This is an erasure poem, and this is what that is. The original text is below:




Done By Halves

How has your heart not split in half?
Lip service ceased being enough long
ago, but here’s one more given yet another pass.

Questions yawn between us like a pass,
the room made chill, divided into your half
and mine. The desolate gap is too long.

This is it, right? It won’t be long,
it can’t, until we can walk tall again, pass
through, no longer bent, as if against the wind, in half—

We’re long past giving that a pass, so stand tall: this half of sky is still ours.

(a tritina with words pulled from the fiction challenge prompt)

Alex Wigan

Into the Constellations

How close to grasping Orion’s Belt
would you get before its tidy trio
stretched or tilted on the angling light-years –
or simply broke?

How deep into the Great Dipper’s bowl
could you dive before it resembled
not a skyborne ladle but something else –
or nothing at all?

How distant would you have to travel
before the spread of night’s dark fabric
stretched flat constellations into sculpture –
or into different shapes entirely?

How far could you fly before you looked back
and saw, with longing eyes and giddy heart,
the familiar night sky patterns
transmuted into a new universe?

How far could you go before your
order-craving mind confessed it could
no longer compress the independent,
far-flung stars into forms it can comprehend?

At that point, I could break, or cry, or dread –
but I think I would sing, and keep sailing.


I’m here so infrequently now I almost don’t remember my password. Yikes. Well, in the effort to get myself back to writing, here is a thing I wrote about spring.


After so many months of slate-dark skies we lost faith

in the sun. Calendars turn purposeless

when rain follows rain and clouds

lie heavy over the cities

like dirt over old bones

which are becoming fossil –

rock, dead, but once living.

The dead don’t need sunlight, don’t care

whether it’s warm or when

or if

the sun

shatters down to the surface.

We do not want to be dead.


We do not want to be dead, but spring’s promise

is late, we think, so we assume the worst:

a year of mud instead of flowers

clouds instead of sky

brown instead of pink

gray instead of blue.

Our world closes in, drains our colors,

and offers only a cloudy day

a cloudy day

a cloudy day

a cloudy day.


When the flowers do bloom, they bare their faces

hesitantly. They are pallid, limp, ghostly attempts

at themselves. They know what they could be –

vibrant, fearless, blazing –

but they don’t know how,

not without the sun.


Sometimes change is subtle and

sometimes it is abrupt –

a match flares while a coal

simmers –

a car crash ends a life while another life stretches

until, piece by piece, one at a time,

it breaks down.


When the promised change came, it came subtly.

It came purposefully, with beauty designed,

first as a warm rain

and a smell of healing earth, then

as gentler mornings and rose-gold evenings,

and on the third day they rolled

the stone away and the rain stopped

and the magnolias bloomed,

so that whosoever believed

would have eternal spring.

Links Lundi

If any of you listen to The Takeaway this morning on NPR, you’ll hear…me!  The show put together a crowdsourced poem in honor of the inauguration today, and my line was one of the ones they chose!  They spliced together a full poem using our recordings and it should play – I think – on the show today.  If not, you can bet I’ll be linking to the show once it’s available online! I found out they’d selected my line at work and I may have done a Kermit flail at my desk.

EDIT: The poem is online!  My reading didn’t make it in – apparently my recording skills are not up to snuff – but still.  Commence Kermit flailing!

Like this.

Photos lie.  Don’t listen to them!

From the folks who wrote about the absence of women in historical fiction due to “historical accuracy,” here’s a cool piece about some TV shows starring awesome women from history.

Looking for reading/viewing material that already exists?  The comments on this Captain Awkward post are loaded with great books, shows, and webcomics created by women.

They’re relaunching X-Men with an all-female cast.  You, like me, probably scoffed, but…they’re wearing clothes.  And they’re posing in ways that aren’t too terribly ridiculous.  And Psylocke and Kitty Pryde are in it.  And they brought back Mohawk Storm.  And the writer claims to want to challenge the double-standard on female sexuality in comics.  I was going to grumble about Jubilee, but then someone in the comments asked if she was still a vampire, and I had no idea she was a vampire, but that sounds kind of awesome, so…I guess I’m in.  Fingers crossed.

And finally, how to get the body you’ve always wanted.

Be Brave In: Books

Happy Be Brave Month! It’s March, which means it’s nearly spring and as good time a time as any for change and growth.  Over the next four weeks, we’ll look into four areas of your life that, with a little courage, can be expanded, improved, classed-up, and generally made more awesome, so you can feel more awesome, too, and get a little closer to being the best “you” possible.

Week Two will focus on books.  Reading has been a big part of my life since I was a child, but I find there are still areas I’m afraid to delve into.  Reading new things is an easy way to open your mind to new ideas, experience other cultures, learn, or be entertained.

1. Try a new genre.  Sounds simple, but trying a new genre of book can be an uncomfortably weird break in routine.  I’m moderately interested in history and science, but I’d never read a nonfiction book voluntarily until last month, when I read “Simply Jesus” by N.T. Wright.  My husband has read three or four books by him and loved all of them, but I could never get myself to read them – while the topics might be interesting, nonfiction, for me, is inherently boring.  It’s been associated in my mind with textbooks for too long.  I finally made a deal with myself: finish this book, then re-read “Hunger Games.”  I’m glad I finally read it, too, both because of its  exploration of the gospel and Wright’s ridiculously in-depth deconstruction of first-century Israel.  (The dude included his own translation of a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Yeah.)

You can go about this as broadly or specifically as you want.  For me, just reading nonfiction is enough of a stretch, but if you’re already an avid nonfiction reader, try picking a new subject.  Go into those corners of the bookstore you rarely visit and see what grabs you,

2. Read poetry.  Poetry is one of the oldest, most personal, and most varied forms of the written word.  You can find everything from ancient Hindu or Persian epics to modern haiku.  Poems require more than your casual attention, which is why many people (including me) tend to avoid them.  However, poetry is great for your brain in many ways: it can help expand your vocabular and your worldview.  Plus, you can find poetry pretty easily – it’s everywhere online, and it’s free!

3. Take on a classic.  High school required reading tends to turn people off the classics, which is a bummer, because some of them turn out to be great reads when you’re free to go at your own pace and analyze (or not) at will.  I re-read “The Great Gatsby” after high school and it became one of my favorite books.  I gave “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton a shot last year, and it turned out to be a lovely read.  Give the book you hated least in school a second chance, or ask a librarian to recommend similar works.

4. “You may also like…” Okay, these suggestions can be atrocious, especially on Amazon.  Goodreads prides itself on its recommendation machine, though, and I’ve spotted many intriguing titles related to the books I’ve reviewed.  Take a chance on one sometime.

5. Raid the library.  Take an hour and just wander the racks of your favorite genre until something catches your eye.  Ask a librarian for recommendations.  The best part about book-hunting in a library is that you can sit and read a chapter or two without anyone glaring at you for doing so.

What do you like to do to get yourself out of a reading rut?  What was your favorite discovery?