Beauty is Not Always Pretty

To my young daughter:

Notice the hydrangea,

both blue and purple.

Blue and purple

are the mealy veins

that line the bulb

of a nose

on that codger

who told you today

that you are not pretty.

Honey, he cannot see

beyond his small

square of green lawn.

You of the tender cheeks.

You of the soprano that rises

out the window as you play

your own piano songs.


The Loneliness of Ignoring Herself

Try, try, try,

she held her worn self,

lying on her side,

aiming for respite,

but never fully resting,

as if she were an octopus,

tentacles always spooling out,



Extreme weather might help–

the crunch of boots on snow

and the bite of cold

could bring her back

to sit at the warm hearth

of her own company.

Sideways Angel: Heather Keyser’s Perspective

Sideways Angel

I lie, braided and beautiful.  Dead, actually.  A vine winds around my body, and it flowers above my head. Irises rest in my hand.

I am graceful and complex and warm in the sun as I rise and float in a dancerly way, or dance in a floaty way into town, down among the shops, swooning in the weekend morning air— swooping around a lamp post coyly, headfirst.  I hold myself aloft sideways.  Somehow, I still have weight.  Oh, the dear weight of me, from my fingertips to my toes!  I course with power, like caffeine, only fresher and more natural, like wet bark essence emanating from my pores, as I hold my otherworldly body perpendicular to the metal post, like only a very strong, slight person can do.

In fact, now I am a Chinese man, a 20 year old Olympic gymnast, on the still rings. I look magical as I raise myself from the mat with widespread arms– my muscles roped–  to a suspended pike position, toes pointed.  I am trained, honed, elite.

How I love my body.  I celebrate it and sing it up, like Walt Whitman would have done.