Poetry whispers in back rooms now,
carries messages, studies maps,
traces escape routes with her breath.
She prays with her eyes open,
makes love in the dark,
smokes every cigarette like it's her last.
She slinks into the party late,
sits with her back to the wall, walks home
with her hand on the pistol in her purse.
Poetry remembers, recreates the scene,
wills herself not to take the capsule
from her pocket, crack it between her teeth,
let silence drool from the corners of her mouth.
Rachel Crawford is a teacher, writer, and editor from central Texas currently teaching and working on a doctorate in Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her poems and short stories have been published in journals and books including Red Rock Review, Mudlark: An Electronic Journal of Poetry and Poetics, Lucid Rhythms, The Lyric, Figures of Speech, Apeiron Review, Red River Review, The Yellow Chair Review, Illya's Honey, Freshwater Poetry Journal, Adanna Literary Journal, r.cv.r.y., Literary Juice, Anima Poetry Journal, Crack the Spine, Rock & Sling: A Journal of Witness, RiverSedge, and The Wayfarer: A Journal of Contemplative Literature. Her poems "The Limitations of Theory" and "Mater Primigenia" received a Poetry in the Arts Award through Baylor University, and her short story "First Names" received the 2016 short story award from the National Federation of Press Women. She's a contributing co-editor of the anthology Her Texas (Wings Press, 2015), and she is currently co-editing the anthology A Fire to Light Our Tongues.