della watson

the women in my family


are known to be most stubborn at death’s door

our fingers claw at the frame of the exit, and our legs dig into life’s floor, go rooted

—–we will not be pulled through before we are ready to go

but do not mistake this refusal for rudeness

no, it is politeness in the extreme

we simply must say all of our goodbyes before we leave the party




the mourning chorus


back in my childhood bedroom on the night of my grandma’s death, i can’t fall asleep. for hours i lie still, reeling, staring at darkness. i want to remember everything. and then the birds start up their wild chirping, so many different types of songbirds. then the roosters join the racket. i think i have never heard so many birds calling out morning before, so loudly, all wailing and screaming. after the sun comes up and the birds finally go quiet, i close my eyes.




tough terrain preserves itself


a stand of trees
is island
in crop script

a farm forest

holds a sinkhole big enough to swallow a wheel

fossils tilled up
are tossed in
with newer bones

in the old days, this land was a sea




della watson is the co-author of Everything Reused in the Sea: The Crow and Benjamin Letters (Mission Cleaners Books, 2013) and a founding member of the Bay Area Correspondence School, an epistolary arts organization.