Rebecca Hart Olander & Elizabeth Paul

Glyph Girl


Head in the clouds,

a constellation

fills her brain,

or it’s a busy hive.

Tawny creature,

her calves are spiked

to catch the wind,

an amulet hangs

below her voice box,

above her heart.


When I look at her

form, hands up and

palms open, she

seems like any young

woman in awe

and fear of the world.

Cave dweller, she lasts

and lasts and lasts.


She curls inside

the skin of a wolf

in dreams, runs over

hardened ground

within its pelt,

howls in concert

until the night is lit

with their twin sorrows,

which are the same

as everyone’s:


how the stars make us

feel small, how flowers

in summer make us

long for beauty

even while they bloom,

how to send ourselves

into the swirl

and be understood.

Beasts of Burden


Girls are always being made to hold something

almost too big for them to manage, and to make

that burden sing, to force a smooth ride. Mares too,


to be bridled, to carry that weight. The bit. The harness.

The cruel trick is to make it look easy, to look beautiful

while doing the work. Braided mane, braided hair.


Glimpse inside the liquid eyes a twinness, heady

with fallen apples, damp knees in the grass, white with wild

fear, foaming, sugar-cubed and bribed, loping bareback


by a stream so dry they could almost weep for a drink

of cool water there, with their bent heads and open mouths.

Their long necks and mysterious bulk. Their sloping


low-fruit bellies. Inside they are coal caves deep

with sadness, acres of occupied territory, fields of

untested hay. I’m not going to tell you the answer.


If I die, you have to dig a hole and hoist me in.

Till then, I’ll flick and swat if I feel like it, sway if I feel

like it, gallop down the sidewalk like I did when I was


eight and didn’t care what people thought of me. No,

that’s wrong. I didn’t know people thought of me at all

when I pretended I was a horse and felt it was true.

Well, losing one’s self was the fashion,

turning the wrists and pointing the toes

just so

along with everyone else,

constructing a pained expression

that might also pass for ecstasy,

dissolving into black.

Our god we named stress

and proudly counted our hours

when we came up for air.

Might as well be fish

we said

and tried to breathe through our skin,

Not so different from water or aluminum foil.

Tried to rub our edges away.

Could almost be an Italian villa, Egyptian artifact,

a flower, a spade, zombie bate.

We lay prostrate.

Interdigitating zipper teeth.

Awaited the slider.

Caraway seeds, record grooves,

the grunts of worms moving earth

and on

and on.

So we tossed about, trying to be everything,

doing nothing.



                                    either individual or shaped from a continuous coil

                                                            moves along the tape

                                                but if it fails