National Poetry Month: Wild


by Maria Guzman

At mossy mountainsides and kitchen tables and front porches, people are taming

surfaces and reaching for tenderness

In other cities, in other rooms, women kneel, inhale, lengthen torsos

A need for relief

Inside an otherwise empty farmhouse

We rearrange our flesh like new furniture

All muscles, nerves, bones

Fold and crease like a box of old books

A tightness in the hips and chest and throat and breath

My body, expansive and limber

Stretches like a vowel in the third grade

My mouth, heavy with newness

I could not open it wide enough to tell them

I have no memory of breathing

Not like this

We lie on the wide wooden floor without shoes

I want to scream

I do not feel soft and holy

The quiet is a foreign and brutal galaxy

It is August and I am mercurial

Spiraling and sweating

I reach for tenderness

Reach the bottom of the blue pool where the jets rise

Reach through the bubbling water in the middle of the dark

I am 300 miles from home

Rain lands on our laughing faces and cupped, naked breast

We are Neruda’s plump raindrop, covered in wet

Spilling our orgasms on lined, pink notecards

Burning, in a pit of orange

I am not alone

There are hundreds of me


Wild women made of mirrors striking their tusks at the moon

Maria Guzman is a writer that was born and raised in Union City, NJ. She studies at Saint Peter’s University. She has held digital internships at international magazines. Maria has read her poetry at established venues such as Cave Canem. Inspired by the natural world, her poems focus on themes of identity, connection, healing and loss. She works in Jersey City, NJ.

Editor’s Note: In honor of National Poetry Month, the Jersey City Independent and Jersey City Writers held an open call for work of local poets. The poems were judged anonymously by Nancy Mendez-Booth, Rachel Poy and Aaron Jackson. The top three poems will be published on the JCI website during the month of April.

Additional Coverage

Jim DeAngelis

is a former Web Editor for Jersey City Independent. He is a publishing and media professional with more than 20 years of experience. Jim is also the co-chair to Jersey City Writers -- a writers' collective in Jersey City.