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


The back yard is drowning and I can’t tell

if that’s good or bad for nesting birds.

They still come for both suet and seed

but they always do, freeze and scorch and all

the in-between days too. I should be worried


about more than the birds, I picture

the worms fleeing in miniature arks

and spend some time considering how high

the water has to get before someone

decides it’s time to go. I keep wanting


to call my mother, ten years dead,

just to find out what she would make

of this mess. To get perspective. Have we

really fucked up this time, neck deep

in bloody water like it feels? Is clinging


to the beat and rise of feathered things,

their profligate beauty, more or less hopeless

than putting our faith in builders

of drains and ships and all those hungry

machines? If Earth is our mother I already know


how it is to be motherless: like the suit of armor

moving on its own, ridiculous

but frightening because nobody knows how.

Katherine Riegel's newest book, Love Songs from the End of the World, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Publishing. She's also the author of two other poetry collections and a prose poem/flash cnf chapbook, Letters to Colin Firth. Her work has appeared in Brevity, The Gettysburg Review, The Offing, Orion, Poets.org, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is co-founder and poetry editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection. Her website is katherineriegel.com.

For Once, Just Flowers