Poems: Opal Palmer Adisa



Fry Bread


after they         branded  her


she became

a vagabond

slinking behind



over skeletons

every time she spat

a story got


but for coyote

licking at her





the other option

was to have eyes

in the back of your head

she was not into dictating

having learned the value

in flexibility

from living

more than four scores

she  understood

some just had to be


even ordered

for the good

of the whole

faith was more than prayer

she was her own miracle


4-Headed Woman



in the midst of everything

buried between the garbage of roles

hidden among

the rubble of demands

is a headless life

probably my own

has anyone seen or

turned it into

the lost and found department

perhaps it was snatched

and gagged

by kidnappers

holding out for ransom


a pick-pocketer

grabbed it

assuming value

can do the mothering bit

but cannot do the wifing

poems must be written

who decides what’s easier

what falls by the way

in my imagings

me was always

at the center

activities swirled

around me

not tornadic

me helter-skelter

clutching at air

this is my life

after all


Breaking Point I


the knife slips

severs muscles

finger hangs

attached by willowy tissue

an accident

cutting away thought

self erasure

diurnal stress

snaps the mind

a filament of meaning

loops until thread bare

the vulgar wound

discolored           swollen

draws loud sympathy

the mind

struggling for meaning

is met with



Bathroom Graffiti III


your daughter

didn’t take your advice

so what’s new you didn’t listen

to your mother either

but you must tell her

you understand her obsession

confess your own

(past life) preoccupation

when you were

her age

you can picture her

furtive impatience

as daily

she dashes to the restroom

to inscribe

all her important

thoughts and questions

on the walls         of the cubicle

reading voraciously

making sure

to follow the advise

etched under her questions

being careful

not to flush      any comments


Contemplating The Next Step

       i understand

why some mothers


thursday would have been

 the evening

three children

might have associated with

mommy gone

if i had not forgotten

how to run

the patriarch

still chides

don’t tell me

it’s that time of the month


feet chopped off

from behind

just above

the achilles heel

some proven remedies

skull cap

angelica root

st john wart

licorice root

black cohosh

chaste berry tree

milk thistle


despite symptoms

i perform

tapping on glass

the space between

flow and flash

will correct itself

bleeding is not

who i am


how i show up

in adam’s world

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