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

A Pileated Woodpecker Shares Where to Find God

I live for what the dead give.

Hidden by leaf screens and branches,

I pillage rotting wood. My tribe fought

long for salvation, after the forests’ razing

dug into ragged stumps, felled trunks,

a miracle of wholeness from fragments,

a feast of insects who thrive on decay.

What’s left when I leave is for others to say.

Should you see my black wings

and red head knocking wood for nourishment,

you might ask if I believe God is dead,

as Altizer said, believing God lived and died

in Christ, that the church lied

about becoming the body—but what Altizer said

was not what most thought he meant,

which was in death, life—a spirit

indwelling to drill the dying down,

incarnate carnage, God’s passion.

If you ask me, I’m proof he was right.

If you listen to my rat-a-tat melody

echoing my drumming beak, you may hear

an answered prayer of oneness, in desire’s

shrill tattoo, and the thrumming

of your own wild heart.


Sarah Carey is a graduate of the Florida State University creative writing program. Her work has appeared recently in Superstition Review, Valparaiso Review, Barrow Street, Potomac Review, Glass Poetry Journal, The Christian Century, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of an International Merit Award in the Atlanta Review's 2018 International Poetry Prize competition and a finalist in Sequestrum Literary Journal's 2018 New Writer Award competition. She is the author of The Heart Contracts (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Sarah works for the University of Florida and lives in Gainesville. Visit her at SarahKCarey.com.

O Keeper of the Dreaming Skull, I am in Love with Everything

Mammary Duct Ectastia