Melinda Mueller

b. 27 November 1757? – d. 26 December 1800

… a wandering beauty is a blade out of its scabbard.
You know how dangerous…

–John Crowe Ransom, Judith of Bethulia

Enter Rosalind, with her legs unsheathed
Of their skirts. Every blade in the theatre
Stands en garde before “Ganymede” has breathed
A line. Such dangerous games are sweeter

The more dangerous. Does wearing breeches
Breach the gates of her virtue? The question
Profits the house. The Crown Prince beseeches
Her, with ardent letters, to indiscretion—

Which is his aphrodisiac. For love,
It seems, he will risk all. Ah, men have died
And worms have eaten them, but not for love.
He leaves her undone and penniless beside.

Beauty, though a weapon wielded by who wears it,
Proves a guardless sword that wounds her when she bares it.


Mary (née Darby) Robinson became famous for her beauty and for her performances at Drury Lane Theatre, particularly in “cross-dressed” roles such as Shakespeare’s Rosalind and Viola. She was mistress for a time to the Prince of Wales, who promised her an annual income in recompense for giving up her profession on the stage—and later reneged. Later in her life, after suffering an illness that left her partially paralyzed, she became known again; this time as a writer of poetry, novels, and essays (including several in defense of the rights of women, such as A Letter to the Women of England on the Injustice of Mental Subordination).
“Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love” is Rosalind’s reply, in her guise as a young man, to Orlando, when he professes that love will be the death of him (As You Like It, Act IV Scene i).

Melinda Mueller grew up in Montana and Eastern Washington, and has lived in Seattle for 30 years.  She majored in botany at the University of Washington, where she also studied poetry with Nelson Bentley. She teaches high school biology, biotechnology and evolution studies at Seattle Academy.  Her most recent book, What the Ice Gets (Van West & Company, 2000) received a Washington State Book Award (2001), and a “Notable Book” award from the American Library Association (2002).

Nicole Hardy

Mud Flap Girl on Teen Talk Barbie


Everyone knows I’m not into clothes, but
you go to the mall, girlfriend; knock yourself
uptown, little Ms. Bad Influence. What
else can you do when you’re pulled from the shelf

for expressing yourself. Here’s what I think:
math class is supposed to be tough. Take that
to any best selling, self-helping shrink:
she’ll say your stellar scores on the GMAT

and your supreme self-esteem can be traced
to childhood success at difficult tasks.
So when Jane’s math anxiety gets placed
on your plastic ass, remind them you passed—

and then pulled off a string of successes
in more careers than Skipper has dresses.


According to a New York Times article published October 21, 1992, Mattel’s Teen Talk Barbie was widely criticized by a national women’s group for saying “math class is tough.” The Barbie remained in stores, but the computer chip that randomly selected four phrases for each doll thereafter picked from 269 selections, not 270.


Nicole Hardy’s memoir, Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin is forthcoming through Hyperion/Voice in 2013. Her work has appeared in the New York Times as well as many literary journals. She’s the author of a poetry collection and a chapbook:This Blonde, and Mud Flap Girl’s XX Guide to Facial Profiling.

Kristen McHenry


Then there’s that stage
between Mother and Crone
when the maidens, clean as dryer sheets
are unbearable to fathom,
and all your chickadees, real or
proverbial, have flown the coop
and you find
yourself blissfully alone
with your attitude problem and your
ungodly imagination, and to top it
all off, you’re pretty certain you’ve developed
the power of invisibility, having sat
still and silent for so long
on a trunkful of vignettes and jittery,
unsettled wisdom—having found yourself
again, and at such an age, as unformed and
as the body of a Maiden.


Kristen McHenry is a resident of Seattle, Washington and is a poet by night, and supervisor of volunteers for an urban hospital by day. Among other publications, her work has been seen in Bare Root Review, Numinous, Tiferet, Sybil’s Garage, Big Pulp, and the anthology, Many Trails to the Summit published by Rose Alley Press. She was a top five finalist in the 2009 national poetry competition “Project Verse.” Her chapbook The Goatfish Alphabet was runner-up in Qarrtsiluni’s 2009 chapbook contest, and was published by Naissance Press in 2010. Her second chapbook, Triplicity: Poems in Threes, was published by Indigo Ink Press is 2011. Kristen serves on the editorial staff for Literary Bohemian, and teaches creativity workshops in her “spare” time.


Annette Spaulding-Convy

Hollow Women

My smile is a cloak that covers everything. I speak
as if my very heart is in love with God. What hypocrisy.
From the Letters of Mother Teresa


Don’t feel sorry for us, medicate
us, don’t meditate on us with rainbow energy.

Don’t call child protective services, assume
my husband isn’t getting any, don’t
bring me a week’s worth of zucchini lasagna.

Believe me, I keep discovering my house
is not a convent and this kitchen not a chapel.
There isn’t a room where the paring knife hole
in my side can bleed its nothing, bleed
its nothing without interruption.

Just give me Halloween—
one black and white nun costume to trick
even Jesus, a loaf of pan de muerto
to feed the thin cratered moon.

Give me All Hallows’ Eve—
an orange vegetable metaphor with a silver
spoon. Scooped and emptied, I’m wrapping
every damn seed that tangles me
in yesterday’s newspaper, chicken feed.

So let me mourn when nobody’s died.
I swear it’s less like navel-gazing and more like the black
hole of my gut, my white cell pleiades
spinning in the part of the painting the artist leaves blank.

And don’t let hollow women burn
their brooding letters like straw.
Remind them sometimes even saints suck

it up, grin, summon
grace from a god-empty breast.



“Hollow Women” is forthcoming in In Broken Latin, 2012, University of Arkansas Press


Annette Spaulding-Convy’s full length collection, In Broken Latin, will be published by the University of Arkansas Press (Fall 2012) as a finalist for the Miller Williams Poetry Prize. Her chapbook, In The Convent We Become Clouds, won the 2006 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. She is a 2011 Jack Straw fellow and her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Crab Orchard Review and in the International Feminist Journal of Politics, among othersShe is co-editor of the literary journal, Crab Creek Review, and is co-founder of Two Sylvias Press, which has published the first eBook anthology of contemporary women’s poetry, Fire On Her Tongue.

Karen Entrantt

Baby Girle


Baby Girle,
Sit down
Take off ur too-high designer shoes.
Put ur Coach/designer x bag down.
Rub ur hurting feet.
pull them up til the heels can feel the cushion in the chair.
Or Stretch them out on the coffee table–
I know it’s beautiful/fav stuff on it
but juss thys once, push it aside,
Stretch ur feet out & close ur eyes!
And juss be still for a minute.
No music. No ipod. no x-box.
Juss u & ur long loss/neglected friend–
No thoughts about ray-ray/nae/niqua/or the dude u really like;
but he don’t know it!
Juss U & Silence.
Silence will guide u, 2
Go upstairs.
Take off all ur
Pull ur hair back.
Wash all the make-up off ur face, body.
Run a hot bubble bath.
Like u used to do back n the day.
No fancy label, juss somethin w/ good bubbles.
Get in & juss submerge all of u
Into the mystery of lathering/soothin/bubbles…
U close ur eyes, surrendering 2 the comfort of the bubbles…
U seemed to have drifted between the wurlds…
U hear a soft soothin voice

But Baby Girle, there are many around u
who never died.
There’s the Ancestral Governing Council
led by Mother Matriarche herself…
The Chief Elders & the Scrybes–
They are where u really came from,
that’s ur tribe!
Scrybes choose to live a different life than most
Becuz they know the real deal–more than most!
Go back 2 letting Simplicity be ur guide also.
She can show u how to look good & not be almost nekit;
she can help u save $ cuz u don’t have 2 buy the new
thing soon as it comes on the market.
She can remind u of ur own inner integrity & that u don’t
have to compromise urself or ur values, juss so ur not alone
or juss so u can have a man hold you through the nite.
She’ll remind u ur worthy of man that’ll be around
in the day-lite 2.
Ur house ain’t on fire, u don’t need a rescue.
In the Silence u will Always be guides what to
U’ll see u no longer have to sacrifice ur Self-esteem..for—you know what!
U Baby Girle are Worthy of the Best…
U wake up..feelin as though tyme has stood still…
And evry bubble is still in place…
Until u realize those aren’t bubbles, but tears on ur face



Dr. Karen Entrantt, Ph.D,  is an author, poet-performer, and creative writing instructor. She has been writing poetry and short stories since the 4th grade.  Her style of writing and poetry performances leave audiences sitting on the edge of their seats in anticipation of more!  She has performed at The ACT Theater, Town Hall  with Poetry + Motion.  Her first book is I Found My Voice! (also available on Amazon and various Seattle book stores). Her second book, The Amplification of My Voice: Another level of Expression! will be out August 2012. She lives in Seattle.



PM5 – Baby Girle from Poetry+Motion on Vimeo.

Elizabeth Austen

The Girl Who Goes Alone


Here’s the thing about being a girl
and wanting to play outside.
All the grown-ups grind it into you from the get go:
girls outside aren’t safe.
The guy in the car? If he rolls down the window and leans
his head out, run
because the best you can hope for is a catcall, and at worst
you’ll wind up with your face on the side of a milk carton.

Even when you’re a grownup girl, your father—because
he loves you—
will send you a four-page article about how to protect yourself
while standing at the ATM, while travelling unescorted, while
jogging solo,
an article informing you how to distinguish phony police
and avoid purse snatchers, pickpockets, rapists, and thugs.

Tell someone you’re going into the woods alone
and they’ll story your head with trailside cougar attacks,
cave dwelling misogynists, lightning strikes, forest fires,
flash floods,
and psychopaths with a sixth sense for a woman alone in a tent.

To be a girl alone in the wilderness is to know
that if something goes wrong—
you picked the trailhead where the ax murderer lurks
or the valley of girl-eating gophers—
if you don’t come home intact, the mourning
will be mixed with I-told-you-sos
from everyone whose idea of camping involves an RV
or a Motel 6.
The message is clear: Girls must be chaperoned.

So, when, at the end of the day, you zip up the tent
and lie back in your sleeping bag,
fleece jacket bundled into a lumpy pillow under your head,
the second you close your eyes every least night noise
is instantly magnified.

You lie there and consider the pungent heft of menstrual blood,
how even your sweat is muskier, louder, when you’re bleeding.
Not hard to imagine its animal allure—every bear
for miles around sniffing you on the night wind.

You lie there, listening, running a mental inventory of any
potentially scented item—
did every one make it into the food bag hung from a tree?
Toothpaste, trailmix, chapstick, sunscreen—fuck.
Sunscreen still in your pack, nestled right beside you
where Outdoor Man used to sleep. So you’re up, out of the tent
headlamp casting its too-bright spotlight, darkening the dark
outside its reach
as you lower the bag, shove the sunscreen in, hoist and tie.

Far enough from the ground to elude the bears?
Far enough along the branch to thwart raccoons?
Tree far enough from the tent to keep from signaling
the proximity of ground-level, girl-shaped snacks?

You go alone—in part—to prove that though Outdoor Man
has left you
his body is the only geography he can deprive you of.
He can give his muscled calves and thighs, his shoulders, chest,
and hands
to another woman, but not the Sauk River old growth,
snow fields of Rainier, sea stacks of Shi Shi.

He can keep you from the sweet, blood-thrilling hum
of his body, but not the sweaty, blood-thumping
pleasure of a hard-earned panoramic view or high altitude

The thing about being a girl who goes alone, who goes
again and again, is that it freaks
the potential next boyfriend. He doesn’t want
to be out machoed and he doesn’t want to admit it
and he hopes you can’t tell. The thing
about being the girl who still goes alone is that it proves
you don’t need him and no matter how you show him you
want him
it’s not the same
and you both know it.

Zipped back into the tent you remind yourself you’ve never
really been in danger.
When have you ever been in danger? Well there was that boy,
but years ago
a teenager like you, driving around bored and pissed
at the world, his BB gun and his father’s two rifles
on the seat beside him. Lucky you.
The gun he leveled on the window ledge
lodged nothing more than a BB in your thigh.

The thing about being a girl alone in the woods is
you know too much
about the grain of truth in the warnings.

Even if you seem impervious, weird good luck leaving you
so far unscathed
you know the other girls’ stories—your sister
date raped after a party in college, a friend
raped by a stranger at knife-point, the two women
shot on the Pinnacle Lake trail, the singer
killed by coyotes in Nova Scotia.

The thing
about being a girl
who goes alone
is that you feel like you shouldn’t go
if you’re afraid. If you go it should mean you’re not afraid,
that you’re never afraid. Your friends will think that you go

This girl
who goes alone
is always afraid, always negotiating to keep the voices
in her head at a manageable pitch of hysteria.

I go knowing that there will be a moment—maybe
long moments, maybe
hours of them, maybe the whole trip—
when I curse myself for going alone.
When I lie in the tent and all I am is fear.

I walk into the wilderness alone
because the animal in me needs to fill her nose
with the scent of stone and lichen,
ocean salt and pine forest warming in early sun.

I walk in the wilderness alone so I can hear myself.
So I can feel real to myself.

I go because I know I’m lucky to have a car, gas money, days off
the back and legs and appetite
to take me there.
I go while I still can.

The girl who goes alone
claims for herself
the madrona      juniper     daybreak.

She claims hemlock    prairie    falcon    nightfall
nurse    log    sea star    glacial moraine
huckleberry    trillium     salal
snowmelt    avalanche lily    waterfall
birdsong    limestone    granite    moonlight    schist
cirque     saddle    summit     ocean
she claims the curve of the earth.

The girl who goes alone says with her body
the world is worth the risk.



Elizabeth Austen is the author of Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press, 2011), and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Goes Alone (Floating Bridge Press, 2010) and Where Currents Meet (one of four winners of the 2010 Toadlily Press chapbook award and part of the quartet Sightline). Her poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and Verse Daily, in journals including the Los Angeles Review, Bellingham Review and Willow Springs, and in anthologies including A Face to Meet the Faces and Poets Against the War. She served as the Washington state “roadshow poet” and is the literary producer for KUOW 94.9 public radio in Seattle.