Three Poems

This is Not a Resurrection

by Cassie Premo Steele

This is not a resurrection

We wanted it to be

We pulled back the cave stone

Of who we were

What they did

We called them on it

We went to search

For who we now could be

This is not a resurrection

It was the women who did this

Women who wept

Washed feet

And covered the face

And dark bodies

That carried the cross

Like water and wood

Without enough break or wine

Holding most of the weight

Time after time

This was not a resurrection

There was no gathering

And showing of the palms

No one could agree

Upon the meaning

Of safety

Or how to pin

Proper blame

So while we waited

For tongues

To stop wagging

And holy breath

To arrive

We admit

This is not a resurrection

And we return to rake

The leaves

Left lying

Since last week

And their colored bodies

Begin to pile

Like flowers

At a funeral

That smell too sweet

And do their time

Standing in for those

Who are still living

But could not be present

As a family

In this fire

And the sympathy

Bouquets wait patiently

For their turn

In the pyre

To rise


It Could Turn

by Cassie Premo Steele

It could turn to more violence, uprising

Of the voiceless, cocksure guns to replace

The throats that are choked with bullets.

It could turn to reasons, talking heads and

Shrunken necks on color TV saying, Look

At me, how smart I am, a brain, well-trained.

It could turn to prayer, together in worship

And song, gathered to mourn what is wrong

And what God might one day make right.

It could turn to symbol, stars and stripes

Half mast, confederacy at full blast, flowers,

Arm bands, badges and bumper stickers.

It could turn to theology, theories of evil

And what one should believe, pontiffs and

Preachers filling the bleachers with Amen.

It could turn to the rising of women,

Mothers who raise sons to put down guns

And pick up babies, train to be daddies.

It could turn to revolution, a turning tide

That swims with the pride of one ocean

Under water, outlaws and shark bait for all.

It could turn to memory, the heavy hand on

The heart of what could not be spoken

For generations and is now shouting out.

It could turn to tears, mourning all we can

Never be, look at the history that's not in

The books, what our heavy bodies still carry.

It could turn to silence, something melted

After fire, wet truth and the wire of walking

Over coals that still smolder with justice.

And it could turn to each of us, saying What

Now, you Americans who love to choose,

What will you do? It could be up to you.


Wedding Women

by Cassie Premo Steele

The green gallbladder twitches and the dog

Gnaws an antler as the bed sheets grow

Wet with saliva and our brains work in rooms

Next to each other while the thunder rolls in

Without rain and we must make our own.

We must make our own we know it now

Even though it took us years to learn it

We had to taste it with our own tongues

From the silence and the yessing to the

Hims who said they loved us like lords.

They loved us like lords and we were

Maidens vessels cups carpets spoons

That fed them food not money and bodies

Became the bridge where they crossed

Into us and burnt down our villages.

Burnt down our villages until the ashes

Filled our mouths and we called it candy

And paid for it with our labor silence eyes

Closed against our own desires even the

Words our and own and desires were gone.

Desires were gone and we walked away

While the maps caught fire and our shoes

Melted in the fine sunlight of one new day

That held hope and light fed us with atoms

We had never tasted anything so sweet.

Anything so sweet must be digested and

We took our time and chewed sometimes

For each other because we would get tired

And need to dream this new world of bodies

Without bridges and fires we lit ourselves.

We lit ourselves with moonlight like teeth

That shine in smile beds without locks where

Everything is free and we have more

Than enough money because it was a lie

There wasn't enough that was the chain.

That was the chain we tied across our wrists

And then tried to flap our wings and when

We realized this flight became possible as

This green gallbladder twitches like a girl

In a womb giving birth to herself gently.

Herself gently opening the hand to another

Who holds a ring and they take turns while

The equal of it is a vow that heals their

Tongues bodies mouths fires teeth beds

Money wrists wings wombs girls women.

Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D., is the author of 14 books and a prize-winning poet. Her latest book of poetry, Beautiful Waters, coming soon from Finishing Line Press, follows the tributaries of love, landscape and history during her honeymoon in Oregon with her wife. She is also a writing coach and her new Cairos program begins in January after the Women's March on Washington and teaches women to claim time as an ally and make this their supreme moment in history. Find out more at