Lisa Marguerite Mora: “Rite of Passage”

Lisa Marguerite Mora has had work published and forthcoming in the literary journals Rattle, ONTHEBUS, Common Ties, Literary Mama, California Quarterly, The Venice Beachhead, Poemimage, Public Poetry Series, among others and was Second Place Prize Winner in the 2008 Biannual Blue Mountain Arts Poetry Contest.

Cultural Weekly is proud to premiere this new poem.


Rite of Passage

The year that everyone died,
I lived in the canyon, July so bright
through the windows of my bedroom,
it didn’t seem appropriate.

I stopped eating
except for potato chips, pale, thin
as communion wafers, crispy and salted.
They dissolved quickly
on my tongue.

Something was coming at me,
a cold moon roaring closer.
I took refuge in single moments–
the sharp taste of vinegar and salt
and vinegar and salt.
I was looking for a rhythm,
anything to hold onto.

I needed the ocean then,
that purposeful mother,
the sting of brine on my face.
Great slaps of water
on my belly and thighs
forcing me to inhale fast and sharp.
Not the dusty mountain in the middle of summer,
lazy and impassive letting everything burn.
Dead before autumn.

My bones began to come through my skin.
I was trying to expose my soul
because I couldn’t feel it anymore.
My little soul rocked around inside of me
a wooden embryo, an ancient,
tiny walnut woman rolling
loose across a bare floor.

What are you looking for?