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Friday, March 24, 2023


by Katherine West

Graphic by Katherine West.

The silenced majority
that some day
will decide
which small piece of the sky
belongs to them
—Rigoberta Menchú quoted in Poetry Like Bread.

70% of Americans don’t trust politicians to make abortion policy. —19thNews

Today it is cloudy
I can’t see the sky at all
I have to imagine it

the way it was
when I was young
when life was a blue door

on an even bluer
even bigger sky

Some days
the sky was so blue
it was almost purple

and I could see
all the way
to Mexico

The birds seemed to fly higher
taking me with them

to new lands
where all the women
grew wings

wrote books
started businesses
ran for office

got married, or not
bore children, or not 
became stronger as they aged 

It was a blueberry sky
with something infinite about it, 
an exuberant potential

I gobbled this up
when I was young—
it became my marrow

and a good thing too
since the clouds
seem to be here to stay

I carry infinity
inside me
a multitude of blue doors

that I open
one by one
day by day

And there are others
doing the same
all over the world

The sky is falling
and we
we are patching it

putting it back up
wiping it clean
of clouds

We are passing out binoculars
to those
with faulty vision

We are leaving
blue footprints behind
everywhere we go

We know
there are those who erase
our footprints

who tell everyone
they meet
that we were never here

But we are here
We aren’t going anywhere—
and there are a lot of us

Katherine West lives in Southwest New Mexico, near Silver City. She has written three collections of poetry: The Bone Train, Scimitar Dreams, and Riddle, as well as one novel Lion Tamer. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Writing in a Woman's Voice, Lalitamba, Bombay Gin, The New Verse News, Tanka Journal, Splash!, Eucalypt, Writers Resist, Feminine Collective, and Southwest Word Fiesta. The New Verse News nominated her poem "And Then the Sky" for a Pushcart Prize in 2019. In addition she has had poetry appear as part of art exhibitions at the Light Art Space gallery in Silver City, New Mexico, the Windsor Museum in Windsor, Colorado, and the Tombaugh Gallery in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She is also an artist.