thank you for making me a woman for letting me reside in the book of life inside
of which is the pizza shop I was afraid to enter wearing jeans the movie theater I
was afraid to be seen at with a boy the shower I was afraid to sing in the chair I was
afraid to sit in lest my skirt rise my sex I was afraid to look at till I was twenty-five
thank you for teaching me to be afraid of the stranger for making the shoulder
something to look over bless you thank you thank you




what if song entered the mouth instead of leaving it

and what of the sacred nostrils

you say this offering is not death but a transformation
from one kind of existence into another
a pleasing odor to you

within me are openings openings
and hollows hollows

all that can cross a threshold
food waste seed incense and ashes

and the skin a digestive organ laps up every touch

Alisha Kaplan holds an MFA in Poetry from New York University, where she was a Rona Jaffe Fellow, and she is an Associate Editor for Narrative Magazine. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Fence, DIAGRAM, PANK, Powder Keg, Carousel, and elsewhere. She splits her time between downtown Toronto and a farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario.