Without Turning by Sandy Gillespie


Without Turning by Sandy Gillespie


She feels him curve

against her back.  She knows

he is awake, his hand

moves with purpose, traces

hip, thigh.  Settles.

She feels his beard

on her neck; she wants

to roll toward him, offer

breasts to hungry eyes.

The weight of her beak holds her.

From behind, he cannot see

feathers sprouted on her brow.

He breathes greedy accusations.

She opens her mouth but doesn’t turn to him,

her beak too finely honed for kisses.

She feigns sleep—he will not notice

open eyes, eyes black

enough to see through ceilings into space.

She savors the tingling

in her arms, the promise—

fine-boned wings,

talons that will crack the walls.



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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-­‐
built sauna.
• 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.

Author: A Room of Her Own

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