a poetic lamentation

A figure stands in the rain. Their top half obscured by a red umbrella and the bottom half visible with black and white patterned baggy, blousy trousers. They stand in front of trees.
Photo by Aline Nadai from Pexels

It’s called a period

but how many times

do we have the fortune

of it being only a


It’s called a period

but how many times

would we like

the exclamation point

vibrating with immense pressure

quaking our uterine walls

cramping, crimping, and cringing

bloody waterfall of tissues

to unwedge itself from our craw

and embrace us in parentheses

of heating pad, hot bath or shower,

and/or food craving;

It’s called a period

but how many times

is it a question mark

slithering down the leg

outside of the bedtime fashioned canoe pad

or dripping from the the overflowing tampon

leaving us to wonder why

we still have a uterus;

It’s called a period

but how many times

do we want to ellipses and/or dash

our way out of everything…



a poem about spells, casting, and manifestations

A dark blue gradient of star-filled sky with a rim of sunset in oranges and pinks at the bottom. There are rocky silhouettes underneath. One white comet is in the right side of the image showering down.
Photo by Dick Hoskins from Pexels

Frissons, swirling stirrings in my gut

murmurations of energy being liberated

tingling through my nerves

and alighting in my core.

The comet assembles.

Fireballing, gathering heat

thrusting blood into my extremities and face

pinking; armpits exhausting fumes I pit out

casting change.

The thrust forcing me to exercise my

vocal chords and make words dance

along my tongue and palate out into the open

air or freeze.

Icing the fires, glacially slowing the blood,

turning the comet into a block of ice, walling

off the inferno that sought to undo me,

spelling protection.

The frissons of swirling stirrings in my gut

settle and perch

manifesting preparedness.



a poem vignette

A hazy photo of a graveyard with a brick building in the background and trees enshrouding the tombstones.
Photo by Chris F from Pexels:

He bit through his tongue

made a notch in it

the size of a fingernail.

He sat quietly most days

at the dinner table

rarely engaging in discussion.

He dug graves covered in

earth and soil, collected worms

to sell to local fishermen.

He was not a repair man and

did very little to maintain

and maintenance things at home;

a hole in the floor of the living room

was covered over with cardboard

or wood scrap, pulling it back an

adventurer could see ground.

He violated his children with

threats, violence, aggression, and


by the time he had become a grandpa

he had buried all traces of

these behaviors.

He gave very little in his life while

taking so much and we called him grandpa.



a poetic self-portrait

Selfie photo of writer with hair in blonde waves cascading towards the camera lens. The writer’s eyes are focused towards the upper left corner of photo and mouth is wide and smiling. Sunlight is peeking through tendrils of hair.
Selfie from 2020 where my hair reminded me of a tree’s branches and leaves.

My trunk is lined with stretch marks

showing where I have grown and aged

though if you cut through me you

would not see rings.

My branches of leaves are coarse

tendrils that curl and frizz

in humidity, change color

from exposure to the sun

and fall when there’s new growth

though no one is waiting to

jump into a pile of hairball.

My roots are under the surface

a network of heartstrings

flowing and rushing sometimes

showing themselves in my skin

giving me that hue of rosacea

though I am pale most of the time.

And like the old tree,

I make noise when I move or am moved.



a prose poem

Two silhouettes under an umbrella in an outdoor low lit environment. Everything is rainy and hazy looking surrounding the pair. Black and brown tones.
Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS from Pexels

There is a shared belief

that when something

or someone is at an ending

we need closure

and that to have closure

means to never have to

think about, delve into,

or revisit that ending

ever again.


is not

a sealing off

of an ending



a way to move

through difficulty,

to pause,

to refocus

on one’s healing,

and center being.

Endings, past hurts, and traumas

will re-cycle themselves into our


the cycle of blessing a person,

situation, or thing and setting it free

is never ending.



a poem about hiking

A grove of trees with autumn colored leaves loom over a leaf covered creek that has boulders and rocks protruding from it. A couple fallen trees lie across the creek in the background and a little sunlight can be seen at the back of the picture where there is a small break in the trees.
Photo by Marta Wave from Pexels

The grove and I had a moment

cold patch hot patch ghostly bent

rolling on nuts

avoiding the skid into fluffy white butts

the grove and I had a moment;

hiking along at a steady clip

more nuts, tree roots

trying not to trip

nor slip

sounds of snapping twigs signaling I am not alone

I ask for protection while leaving my senses to hone

the grove and I had a moment;

being outside lends me creativity and is something I enjoy

runner’s high turned speed walker leaving me to buoy.



a poem about TMJ

A zoomed in photo on a gray stone mortar and pestel crushing green herbs and plants.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels


(but not the kind you think)

my teeth together

before I even realize

I am doing it.

I unclench

my jaw

and rarely

get that woom woom woom

feeling these days.

The kind that feels

like waves

from pressure and pain.

Desensitizing myself

to tension I now carry

in my face.

When I hear

fix your face,

I will think of

taking a deep breath,

drinking water,

and unclenching my jaw.





Librarian and Information Specialist by day. Queer writer of poetry, sensuality, personal experience, and health by night. Instagram @tolbert_on_medium #BLM✊🏿