Io Hears the Breath of All Things

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Cats clung to the shelves and hung from the ivy.
Loam soaked into my pores, crusted my skin.
Groaning in the damp sheets, I woke having forgotten who I was.
Bats swept the sky, hummingbirds drank from the water hose.
Clay girl, I pulled myself up the rope knot by knot.
Spiders slept hanging above me; slugs mated on the bed frame.
Adders swayed to the earth’s hum, a sound I felt in my bones.
Jays fought on the plastic’s other side, millimeters away, all outside
creaking on its rusty hinges. Spiders hatched in my sheets,
ran countless hundreds, eyelash-tiny, across my pillow.
Fan motors melted in the heat, the microwave too.
Shrieking owls swooped inches above my head.
Dirt daubers drew me from myself. Night tunneled in, breathed my name.
Flirting with madness, I heard everything, everything, call out

and I answered.

Photo By: Alyson Hurt

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About Author

Judy Jordan’s first book of poetry, Carolina Ghost Woods, won the 1999 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, the 2000 National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as the Utah Book of the Year Award, the OAY Award from the Poetry Council of North Carolina, and the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award. Her second book of poetry, Sixty Cent Coffee and a Quarter to Dance, was published by LSU press. Jordan’s third manuscript, Hunger, which is about the two years she spent in semi-homelessness living in a greenhouse is at LSU press and she just completed a fourth book of poetry. Jordan built her own environmentally friendly house out of cob and earthbag while living in a tent, founded SIPRAW, which rescued dogs out of puppy mills, lives off the grid, is a vegan, and teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

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