April 18, 2017
For the Lost Women in Prisons: A Texas Two-Step

—Catherine Bowman
Posted in celebration of National Poetry Month

She’s hay poured
On a burning bed

She’s an envelope
With a love letter missing

She’s 4 a.m.   She’s amen
She’s chewing bone

She’s the grease stain
On your grease-stained apron

She’s forget-me-nots
Forgotten   She’s a salt lick

She’s so hot
They fried an egg in her head

She’s a gas can
She’s matches

She’s just-picked
Cherries   she’s a gag bit

A snaffle bit
She’s the shuffle

In Texas two-step when he cut in
She’s snake bit   a horned sidewinder

She’s an erased route
She’s a garden of mouths

She’s the coastal duck’s
Fine down stuffed

In your pillow   She’s an old spice
Grinder   She’s what’s tied

To a hitching post      She’s Pentecostal
Hymns 4 and 6           She’s the rubbed-out sky

Blue Cadillac   Black as the casket
Grilled and married in mockingbird trill

She’s the skinned
Armadillo boots

If you want her
Look for her under your bootsoles

She’s sheared lamb infused
She’s a rancher’s blown glass

She’s refracted   She cuts
The moon into a thousand slices

She’s wild asparagus   a bait shop   She’s spilt milk
She’s refried beans   lost wallets   red chili   socket wrenches

Her name under rocks   under roots of river cypress
A child asks, what is the grass?

Across the range   She’s the wind
Witch grass   love grass   wild rye

Your mouth on your lover’s thigh
What has become of the women and children?

She’s a mother’s lost song
She’s the gulf grass you lay down on

She’s a cage of gassed canaries
She’s the honeybee on your grave
 

—Catherine Bowman (Monroe County)

This poem is from Can I Finish, Please? (Four Way Books, 2016).

Photo by Jackie Gloye

Catherine Bowman is the award-winning author of 1-8OO-HOT-RIBS, Rock Farm, Notarikon, The Plath Cabinet, and most recently Can I Finish, Please? She also edited Word of Mouth: Poems featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Paris Review, The LA Times and Best American Poetry among other journals. She lives on a farm and teaches literature, writing, and poetry at Indiana University.

Poetry Prompt: Character Sketch through Metaphors
Write a list poem using vivid metaphors to describe a particular group of people that society tends to forget, look down upon or stereotype. Imaginatively enter the sensual world of the group you’re describing. Embrace contradictions and the music of language. Let your ear help guide the imagery.

Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem and prompt every day in April. Indiana Poet Laureate Shari Wagner selected these poems and wrote the prompts.

Posted In: Poetry