“Recognition” by Sandy Gillespie
We open the window to the lapping bay
and laze beside the fire. Overnights are rare
for grown women, uninterrupted hours
delicate as artichoke petals, from which we scrape
soft flesh with gentle teeth. The Cabernet is an eighty-five,
and children don’t exist for us tonight. Tonight we are women
talking about our lovers. Yours is new, and he moves
in such a way that you’ve found secrets in your body; mine
has been my husband for sixteen years and sometimes
in our comfort we forget what passion feels like.
You stretch on the rug, lean on one elbow, head back.
When have we laughed this hard? I feel like what I never was–
a woman unafraid of her desires. Fire snaps
your hair, one strand slipped loose and dancing
on your breath. The fire burns to embers.
We fold back blankets, crawl into flannel sheets.
Spoon-like you curve into me, breasts against my back.
I can’t remember ever feeling breasts, except my own.
Your hands spin silk. Silence rushes
through us, carried us toward a future
whose wealth and cost we only guess.
We let it go and slide together into sleep.
I tell myself I would not love you
better if we kissed.
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Sandy Gillespie’s Artist Statement:
I am 66.
• At 41, I moved alone from San Diego, California, to Fairbanks, Alaska, to get
my MFA in poetry.
• I learned to backpack. To listen hard for moose and bear. To dress for -‐35 and
watch, at midnight, for the northern lights.
• I worked with Tuma Theater, a half Alaska native / half non-‐native theater
group that used Alaska native movement and drumming to tell stories.
• I built a dry cabin. Hauled water in five-‐gallon jugs. “Showered” in my hand-‐
• I taught English, theater, writing.
• I ran the visual arts department of a month-‐long summer fine arts camp.
• I was visual and literary arts program director for the Fairbanks Arts
Association, then for the Alaska State Council on the Arts.
• I came out as a lesbian.
• I had solo exhibits across the state, including at the Anchorage Museum and
the State Museum in Juneau.
• I came to Minnesota often to be with my grown kids.
• I became a “gran” & moved to Minneapolis.
• I became a Buddhist.