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—
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-‐
• 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.