Congratulations to Ms. Tia Kessler. Her newest work, Girl Unbound, Volume 1: In Love, was released on Valentine’s Day 2014 by Cook Creative Works, which readers can buy here. Her poem “Cocaine Heart Breakers” from the book and a couple of earlier poems were previously shared with us at WARP Place. Here are three more poems from Girl Unbound:

Fingerprinting Me

There are some things
I can never erase.
Your fingerprints
on my heart.
They are all over it.
These delicate little smudges.
I wonder, if you lifted my heart
to the sun,
would you see them
in white
like you do
on glass or silver?
Each one
uniquely yours,
uniquely you.
Do you even know
how many you have
left over the years?
Fingerprints all over me.
They are burnt
into the flesh
of my thighs,
etched upon the curve
of my spine.
Just there—
do you see?
On my lower back?
Where your hand
used to rest
so perfectly,
so elegantly.
They are traced
upon my shoulders,
they coat my lips
like sugar frosting.
They pattern my throat
like lace—
an invisible collar.
They are wrapped around
inside of me,
in secret dark places
only you
have ever touched.
They are a map
of your comings
and goings.
These fingerprints,
still set like ink
upon my breasts.

Raven Song

When the raven sang,
its voice
was your name.
When it flew overhead,
the wind from its wings
was your breath.
And when its curious eye
turned upon me,
it was your penetrating gaze
that saw past
mascara and lipstick
to the frightened child inside.
When your hands
roamed the expanse of my lands,
it was Huginn and Muninn
awakening thought and desire.
When the raven lighted upon Yggdrasil,
the tree was my bed
where I sacrificed myself
unto you,
to gain the wisdom
you dropped at my feet.
When the raven sang,
its call
was your name.

Frost Before

Silver frost lays on grazing pastures,
leaves tumbling from the wind’s gentle grasp,
to the tinsel grass below.
I exhale tobacco smoke
into the chill of the early morning of the first frost of the season—
frost before Halloween, a cold winter’s coming.

The air is cold, an embracing kind of cold,
not sharp or biting at fingers, but encompassing, cradling,
a precursor of a lullaby to the hibernation of earth in winter—
a warm-up, the sound-check of nature.

Behind me,
beyond the old wooden screen door
that slams with a happy thunk no matter how softly you close it,
the sanctuary is warm.
Sanctuary of home.

It is warm inside,
old books scattered haphazardly onto every surface,
so I take my coffee mug and venture back inside,
inside into safety and dimmed light and sleepy warmth,
glance lovingly at the worn copy of Leaves of Grass I left laying on work table the night before.

My hands are stiff so I take the aspirin,
even though I hate taking the aspirin
because I know it will not work,
but I know that my hands will hurt in the chill today,
so I take it just the same.

I gaze out of the picture window into the cow fields
where the crows have gathered,
mottled sunlight melting icing glaze unevenly.

I feel the earth moving around me—
in the air, the grass, the trees, the clouds, the laughter of waking children,
the purr of cat beside me.
In the cars racing past, the birds calling to the sky,
the sun—blessed sun—
touching everyone, everything with fiery fingers.

I sense the dirt below wooden floors, the worms and grubs and larva.
I sense the energy and vibrations of leaves and wind and season’s change,
and I know that we are all the same.
Me and you and the wind and the sky and the dirt.

We are all the same.
Delightful manifestations of energy
dancing into being with atoms and molecules
with hope and spirit and faith.

We dance into being, into life, into awareness.
We dance into love and we dance into death and we dance into birth,
each dance as significant as the ones preceding and the ones following.
We dance to the song of the universe—
that delicate strumming, singing, playing—
that all-encompassing song.

The song that a dying atom sings into the microscope of a scientist’s study,
the song that a baby sings floating inside mother’s womb,
the song the old man sings through his final exhalation—
the song of life.
And of death.

We are all part of a larger whole, each of us,
every single rock and grain of sand,
equally as significant and insignificant as every other,
and this world keeps spinning,
revolving through space,
cradling lives and love and marriage and divorce and birth and death
and the hop scotch of children.

We are all dancing into being, dancing into life,
dancing into death to the song of the energy of the world—
delightful manifestations of energy,
you and I and the dirt and the rocks and the trees and the birds.

Copyright © Tia Kessler