Self-Portrait as Rosary Beads

Curled amid lint and loose change,
tucked in a jacket’s satin lining or crushed
with used gum in seams of denim,
I’ve known pain clinics and airports, taxicabs
and stale schoolrooms where time is
a honeycomb in winter. I am olive wood,
carnelian, plastic, black onyx. Am rosebuds
pressed into fragrant spheres. Your heat,
is my musk; your worry, my fire. Pick
your mystery. If Tuesday: sorrowful, if Saturday:
glorious. I’ve held you in grocery lines,
picket lines, the hours between sleepless and
woken. Hold me. I am glass shattered, smoothed
by my mother’s nerves, pillowed beneath
her cheek. Counted, accountable, counting,
counted on. Crystallized, dangled on a string
or hung from a mirror in a river of traffic,
praying for green, for an end, for a mutiny
of rain. Litany of sorrows, of praise,
I’m a crown of roses, a crown of purple
thorns. I am faithful as breadcrumbs
on barbed wire. Lose me to birds or to night’s
starred thicket. Touch and be splintered,
sundered. Soothed, surrendered.
My scent on your fingertips.


by Angela Narciso Torres




“Real Sofistikashun” by Tony Hoagland
“The Art of Syntax” by Ellen Bryant Voigt
“The Art of Recklessness” by Dean Young
“The Art of the Poetic Line” by James Longenbach
“Poets Teaching Poets”  Ed., Orr and Voigt
“Poet’s Work, Poet’s Play” by Daniel Tobin and Pimone Triplett
“The Triggering Town” by Richard Hugo
“The Flexible Lyric” by Ellen Bryant Voigt
“Ordinary Genius” by Kim Addonizio
“The Poet’s Companion” by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux

Reading List & Poem by Angela Narcisco Torres