SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

In and Out of Dusk


In the lower meadow the lone coyote prances amongst the newly cut

hay. So rare to spy in broad daylight, the long-legged native most often

seen, like memory, slipping in and out of dusk. I know, it makes no

sense but all I want is to take this scrap of fur and make a bed of him

to rest on.


Night in the mountains up north; the sky drowning in stars and the

valley darkness’s accumulation. I feel turned upside down. As we walk

to our campsite I hold your hand tightly in mine, I have the idea you

will keep me safe. All between here and there is filled with coyote’s

yelping. Sounding like so many sorrows, then silence. Later we make

love in our tent, something desperate in my need for your body, I weep,

skin on skin.


In my own throat a high-pitched descanted treble. This is how I call

you to me (Beloved… Beloved…) from across the distances between us:

position, opinion, perception. Where are you? and I am here.


In the end I could not find the narrow ledge I would have called

concession. The coyote, that trickster, slipped into darkness. And in

what little light was left, simply, I would not give.

Karla Van Vliet is the author of two collections of poems, From the Book of Remembrance (Shanti Arts, 2015) and The River From My Mouth (Shanti Arts, 2015), as well as a poem-length chapbook, Fragments: From the Lost Book of the Bird Spirit (Folded Word, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Acumen, Poet Lore, The Tishman Review, Green Mountains Review, Crannog Magazine, and others. Karla is a co-founder and editor of deLuge Journal. See more at www.vanvlietarts.com.

Cleaning Out

The Other Woman #3