Next life, let me remain a woman.
Opened, closed, set aside, devoured: radiance.
Because of time, smooth and warm, like a beach stone in the sun
(starfish grow back their reaching arms in slow motion, when dismembered)
So do I hold my self, as a poem, or a starfish, or a secret.
Poke holes in my body, do your worst: I do not hold regrets
And remain myself: smooth, curved, whole.
(My last life,
I was a warrior woman, with many sons.
Squirming, striving, their blind mouths,
They multiplied and hung heavy, hung from
My body like weapons, like stones)
Because of time, smooth skin, and sounds, sounds and sounds
(my hair is pretty, and the smell of me is light and warm)
I gain wisdom in my silence and in my sleep, and grow
My missing pieces in slow motion, should I need them.
(The life before I was a tea servant, with one daughter.
And often in your eyes I see her reflection, tipping toward you,
Pouring thus, thus, and thus.)
Drink from me. I am whole, and I can spare much
More than you can drink, today.
Lisa Magnuson has been writing since 1990, but got a diagnosis of severe endometriosis in April 2010 and since then has delved into a personal health journey that has blown her mind. Food, lifestyle, work, sex, and social life, all changed. And while she has always written effortlessly, and somewhat lazily, just for the pleasure of it—she’s now possessed. She has a theme. She has a reason to write. She wakes up routinely at 3 am, with poems such as the one above, fully formed, and ready to type out.
Editor: Olivia Gray