First: Molly Pershin Raynor – Two Poems

This is the undone season

of blunted grief, convenient beast.
eyes heavy with tethered salt
beneath silk swell of reddened
skin, conjured stink of shame.

everything numbed under blanket
of ice, the dark confetti of your
absence: softshrapnel in my empty
bed. i black widow, weaving web

of what ifs & bloated regret, breasts
plump with ghostmilk of children
we named but never had. you were
a wishbone & me always breaking

off the smaller side. trying to unearth
the dark pit of your distance, turn your
iron to velvet. i bluebird, threading
empty nest of eyelashes & dandelions,

so many midnight prayers that never
bore fruit. still, they sing in me, pulsing
hot beneath this sorrow-studded shield.
this is the undone season of burrowing,

when all one can do is plant a seed &
pray it takes root. praise this dumb
muscle that keeps beating, keeps
believing in spring. praise this plump

miracle, purpledrunk with lilac blood.


Yamim Noraim [Days of Awe]

i wore a rosegold gown of smoke / palm fronds / murky water
swamp of want / moonflower / i open brightest in the velvet
knife of night / shadows sage every room in the palace of my
memory / micah & black sand / what slow erasure / what fear
we hold in our kidneys / my heart a fist cool & sturdy as jade /
i am 34 & 3 + 4 = 7 witch is my favorite number / this is my year
of pulling the knots loose / sewing momma’s advice & smoky
quartz into the seams / so i stay longer / i went to the arb on rosh
hashanah / wrote the names of all the men on coral leaves in black
sharpy & flushed them down the river / unraveled my blood of
them / i wrote all my names onto stone & buried it there beneath
tangled roots / ate cold apple slices dipped in honey / sticky on
my wrist / i licked it clean & felt shanklike & creamlike all at once
/ this alchemy of fear lifting like fog / shifting to freedom over
flame / rosegold smoke wrapping me in wedding gown / i met
myself beneath the chuppa / i met myself & said i do


Back to First: Table of Contents

Back to Faith Paulsen: Poem                     Onward to George Stein: Photograph

Molly Raynor

Molly Pershin Raynor is a poet and educator. She co-founded RAW Talent, now the RYSE Center’s Performing Arts Program, which serves youth in Richmond, California. Her work is highlighted in the documentary film, “Romeo Is Bleeding” on Netflix. Molly is the current Literary Arts Program Manager at the Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her poetry has been featured on NPR and published in several literary magazines including Vinyl, The Rumpus and Porkbelly Press.