“I Say Alanis Morissette Three Times in the Mirror” & “My Nonna Counts Rosary Beads in a Dream” by Erika Walsh

Abstract painting by Sally Egbert

I Say Alanis Morissette Three Times in the Mirror

Pink squiggles of light                    In the glass say hello
Hello not bleeding body                 Are we worried today
My tits stiffen like plus signs         Like the cross I won’t bear
Angelina used to say                     I’m going to the moon
Her wheelbarrow of animals          Her owls and her bears
Yellow circles she painted             She said this is where god lives     
The circles are houses                   We live in them too   
I kneel scrubbing red puke            Off my knees outside her door
Mom sings isn’t it ironic               To me inside her stomach  
Breaks the cork of a bottle            Of wine it transforms 
To saltwater to gargle                   When you are dawn sick
My nonna says remember             We will always be your blood
My cat cries like a new mom        To lick her wet paw       
Fill a glass with white oil              Watch it melt into fog

My Nonna Counts Rosary Beads in a Dream

All the good men are dead
So you dream of a place

Where good men use their hands
To cradle fish oil scoop drops into the dish

Of the saucer of the ashtray
Of your dry eyes so they fill

Fate pools wet
On your tongue pour sangria

To glass stains bloom red
Into cloth like a kind

Of stigmata say yes to the love
Your past offers his mouth 

Counts to fifteen kneel small
In a cupboard he forgets

To seek you etch nails
To wood make him

Come closer palms pray 
Your name hope his

Emerges from letters
You were born with can you tell    
Where the light is can you open 
Your mouth your tongue splitting

To serpent dust pools  
In a dish in a cupboard
On a high shelf specks lick
Your long chin light reflects 
In a glass watch it
Open a door


Erika Walsh is a poet and co-founding editor of A Velvet Giant, a genreless literary journal. Her work has been featured in Hotel Amerika, Hobart, Visible Poetry Project, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Peach Mag, and elsewhere. She was awarded a residency to attend Art Farm Nebraska, works in Manhattan as an editorial assistant, and lives in Brooklyn with her pet cat, Willa.

Sally Egbert is a New York based artist. For over three decades, she has been making paintings, drawings, and installations. Her work is mostly abstract, loosely based on observations from nature. Egbert studied at SUNY, New Paltz. She is a recipient of grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Gottlieb Foundation, and The New York State Foundation for the Arts. She has shown nationally and internationally.