Rumors to Start About the Girl Next Door. {poetry}


They say she was raised by wolves,
I heard she takes it as a compliment.

And I heard she carries garden shears in her back pocket
to snip flowery branches from backroads at sunrise

I heard she whispers to fluttering sparrows,
convinces them to land softly on her shoulders

and I heard she drinks only moon-water,
leaves a glass jug to soak up pale beams at midnight

I heard she greets every soul with grace
but will sneak quietly through the crowd to leave

I saw her reapplying red lipstick —
which she whispered was actually war paint

I heard that she threads constellations inside her clothes,
even though only she will be able to touch or feel them

and I heard that she cut her finger in a forest —
that where blood dropped, now grows wild lupine

I’ve been told that she’s an artist,
though I’ve yet to see her paint, or sculpt, or write

I thought I saw her bathing in the tide on Sunday
but others will swear that she was mountain-side

I heard she will not speak a word aloud,
unless she believes it sounds truly beautiful

and I heard her fingers move over sudsy silverware
while her dishwasher sits, collecting dust

I heard she prays every morning — to something,
but it looks like she’s just talking to the trees
and I heard she dips her pen in saltwater, transparent
entrusts her letters only to the wildest seas

I heard she’s been strictly boycotting footwear,
caught in sneakers, argued she’s barefoot underneath

and I heard she reads only by starlight
because sunlight is too harsh on the eyes

I heard she sings hawk-songs with such transcendence
that they fly, hypnotized in circles above her

and I heard when she danced for rainfall, it fell
but she simply shrugged it off as luck

I heard she does believe in magic though,
and that she says that she can prove it

and I heard she’s up with the sun,
save for the days she sleeps in
and I heard that she never loses,
save for the times she can’t win.

and I heard she bends hours to her will
but rests deep and long when she tires.
and they’ll tell you that she has everything,
but they never speak of what it is she desires.

and I heard her voice is always steady and strong,
save for the times that it breaks,
and I heard on most days she gives away
but that, on some days, she takes.

I heard she keeps immaculate space
but says the Divine hides in messes
and that, like a compass, she knows the way
but will swear all her directions are guesses.

and I heard that she cries when she has a broken heart
and that you can glimpse entire galaxies in her eyes,
and she’ll tell you that it’s true — the magic, in part
and that it swirls too, in the blood of you and I.


Kasandra Cook is a writer and a dreamer who can be found chasing stories and wishes along new coasts. She is enchanted by the desert, the sea, and the land and people in between them. Kasandra’s writing takes inspiration from the circular style of storytelling of the Wampanoag people with whom she spent the summers of her youth. In 2012, she rediscovered her love of prose amidst the Joshua Trees. When her hands have not taken up pen they might be found propelling her into — then saving her from — a too advanced hand balance, holding up a little-known memoir, pulling the perfect shot of espresso, covered in dirt in the garden or paddling their way through the sea at sunrise, but usually they’re just petting the dog of a stranger.


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