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

Root by Paula Bohince

My birthright 

to rival the dirt for primacy 

of earth (this inner 

outer space) stars 

of mica, tinselly give-offs 

to read by. 


I aspire, my spine 

spiraling out of skull and piercing 

sky, like a queen, 


and me, her foot- 

note, her shamed history. 


I ponder Brahms 

and Bauhaus.  I have thoughts, 

spectacular or quiet 

depending on rainfall. 


No honey down here, but I 

lust, I grudge, 


I apprenticed myself 

to a darkness and sent up 

cardinal redness while I sinned 

in my brain, 


demonic or dull, 

either way lost to the aerial 

photograph, as my mind 

mapled air, 


my frayed and dendritic 

nerves, my lyrical 

impulses, separate as a corsage is 

from the wrist of the one 

who wears it.

Paula Bohince is the author of three collections, all from Sarabande: Swallows and Waves (2016), The Children (2012), and Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods(2008).  Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, and Best American Poetry.  She has been an NEA Fellow, Dartmouth Poet in Residence at The Frost Place, the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholar, and Amy Clampitt House Resident.  She lives in Pennsylvania, where she grew up.

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