As Us

A Space for Women of the World

Sasha LaPointe-Poetry

Goodnight Ophelia

This is not a bathtub it’s a river
know for a moment I could breathe
beneath water the little plastic bottles
are orange flower petals
and I folded a dozen paper boats
to help me find my way

when you begin to grieve
on the black and white tiled floor
for the body lost and floating there
know that scales formed
skin between toes webbed

and I could sing
trust that I found the voice
buried in the deep belly
let it float up soft
pink pockets of throat and
splinter like poison

remember the piles of mermaids:
plastic, candy colored hair
lips frozen into hard pink smiles

know that I will open my eyes and mouth
to the sweeping fleet of paper boats

Smashbox

first a swallow of wine
before finding a place for everything

here where nothing is permanent
but removable

the light that spills
in and wrecks mornings

the black etched calligraphy of mascara
as it turns your cheeks into letters

and it isn’t cheerful enough
for champagne

but we’ll open it anyway
and when I throw the bottle away

I’ll find the palate of pressed powder
the squares of sugar spun of stone of taupe

and all the pale shades of pink
to be opened like a library book

of glitter and bronze and gold
as temporary as a line
left by the weight of a pillow.

To Persephone from her lover

Thank you for the postcard,
though it hardly seems believable
a beach in hell
sand burning your delicate toes

I heard the clicking of ravens overhead
and for a moment, felt sorry for you
there are no birds in the underworld
no sunlight or breeze

and I shudder at thoughts
of your skin dry and cracking
your face, at this moment
is it covered by Hades

here clusters of black jagged rocks
dark stones slipping against skin slithery
as I sit night after night
a million stars crashing down on me

feathers lent flight as I searched for you
blew away in salt-thick wind rushes
I never meant to find you
looking was a lie

We all knew where you were, though only few dared to admit
your naked legs in ashen earth no roots
binding you there, no rope or thorn bushes
your breath coming out in clouds of dust
as you moan beneath him

In the dark
you grow bored, wander
lonely corridors and caves lead you here
running slender fingers along
wet walls feeling your way

you slink along the beach like it’s nothing
wading out into the tide
squinting in forgotten daylight
shielding your eyes

the empty cluster of rocks is all you found
black bubbles burst at the surface
as I watched and waited, the barnacles of my breasts heaving upward
as I tried not to make a sound

you disappeared again, in the shadow of an old black Camero
I could see lips lit by a cigarette
glowing orange at the tip
black sunglasses reflecting the ocean
a cloud of smoke and sand
and you were gone again
my body stretched out and lonely
my hands slip over myself, the scales and the algae
as I try not to think of you

sun bleached bone
pounded to white sands by the grinding tide
is a pale hot death all around me
warming my skin

the wooden boats come crashing
the sailors and their captains fall
and all of it
is for you.

Sasha LaPointe HeadShotSasha LaPointe, Coast Salish, of the Nooksack tribe, currently completing her undergrad in Santa Fe, New Mexico at The Institute of American Indian Arts with a strong focus on poetry and creative nonfiction. She is from Seattle, Washington. Stories have always been an integrated part of my life. From early childhood memories–big gatherings in the basement of my grandmother’s Seattle home–we were constantly being hushed. I remember feeling sorry for my aunts and cousins, forced to flee the room and bounce babies on their hips into silence, because my grandmother used to say that even crying babies weren’t an excuse, that we were all supposed to listen. Hush, we were told, when grandmother’s are speaking. I feel very connected to this lesson, over the years and through the loss of my grandmother it has been something that has stuck, and stayed with me. As a mixed heritage woman, from the Coast Salish Nooksack tribe, I have learned to carry my grandmother’s values around culture, language, and strength with me. They serve to ground me, to remind me. Having uprooted myself from my Pacific Northwest home to pursue my undergrad at The Institute of American Indian Arts in New Mexico, it’s important for me to remember these things that stick, and that are not forgotten. In my own work, whether it be poetry or prose, I like to remember all the women of our family who faced challenges in their lives and had the voice to speak about them. Though I am not a traditional storyteller, like my grandmother, her mother, and her mother’s mother, I feel driven to let my own voice find it’s way. I plan to further explore these lessons in the realm of my work, to let them manifest and take shape. Through the years of listening and learning, and as I quickly approach the final year as a creative writing undergrad, I begin to feel more and more compelled to follow in strong footsteps, and speak up.

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Countdown to Launch

Issue 3February 14th, 2014
Online version of Issue 3 goes live!

As Us Indigenous Women’s Literary Journal

As Us Literary Journal

  • To want to speak up is understandable. That’s what we do as writers, as poets. We are charged with being... fb.me/6vnSI6PPz 1 day ago

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