Tidal Basin

Germination Detail Part III, by Leslie Shellow

contemplations about what stays in the net

Sunday, September 18, 2016



 My heart is breaking.

 The same fissure along the same fault lines.

 The approach to the volcano is well-worn. The heat, predictable. The explosion, a roiling sound in the throat of the

But this time, I turn and walk back along the greening trail until the lava rocks are covered and hidden.

I leave a stone, a feather, a red string
where I would have placed my heart.
and I walk away


the rest of my life.

Monday, August 22, 2016


I miss a lot of things.
Like the sound of your heartbeat through the machine that kept you alive. Or was it the picture of a line dipping and climbing, which looked loud, like a sound?
And I know I would have heard silence had it flattened out
But it didn’t.

You did.

And (take credit), your exit was indistinguishable from the dawn
and my earphones recorded the motion of breath in each song,
so many breaths before I noticed / you were gone.

O.K. That is a lot for a short moment
that lasted less than a second
of breath.


And where were you in all of this?
Recording sound and breath and absence like you owned it.


Stipulations say that details in absentia cause misdemeanors of flight.
You left without warning,
the tarmac still warm from releasing your traction

Come back and I will explain how you never were supposed to leave like that
without me.

New Vision

She has coins dangling around her belly in a string of silver chain. She moves to an old song. She is a gypsy.

How she recognizes me, I will never know. She sees me out of the corner of her mascara-ed dark eye behind a ringlet of black hair across a room full of tables, some with food; others empty.

She shakes, shimmies, and glides up to me. She offers her hand and does not take it back when I extend mine. She’s light in her step and heavy in her hips. Her belly sings a million songs. I hear my name in one of them.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Cuba, Yoga, and Love

I am re-posting a link to an interview I did with Michelle Embree on my memoir-in-progress, UNDOCUMENTED. Thank you, Michelle, for your thoughtful questions and for such a lovely opportunity to reflect on this work!


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

In The Middle of Time

blue jeans
frayed at the edges
like waterfruit
seedy and split
exhausted by
the day,
or was it
the night?
pooling in a
dark corner
of the room where the
highway buzzes outside the
motel suite--
a luxury
this place in
the middle of

Sunday, October 11, 2015

a love letter for autumn

a day without capitalization

i spent the day with gabriel, lapping sunshine on a sandy beach on the banks of the potomac --
a place where no one usually comes save the friends I bring there once in a while. gabriel learns to swim little by little, letting water absorb into his desert skin while his attention focuses fully on the stick i've thrown; forgetting in the moment his intrinsic fear of water, eclipsed perhaps by a fear of not pleasing me by returning empty-handed. you know dogs.

the sand and sun and sparkling water conspire to relax us both until it is time to taste wine at the coop where they offer it some saturdays, organic from italy, and fruity tart like autumn

the irish inn is down the road.
so far, i've been there three times in the past year: once with a monk, once with a kurdish activist, and once with two school teachers, each enjoying different parts of the same me. the teachers met my collegial side; the kurd, the part of me who listens and talks about literature and writing; and the monk, he saw my sense of humor and my soul's deep yearning. it's funny how the mind spirals on a day like this.

i came home, drank a glass of the wine, and watched a movie recommended by a friend: Into the West, an Irish drama about how a horse and two boys escape the container of their lives through the power of their belief in each other. it is now that i don't know what to write, afraid as i often am to show the container of my life, but that is what is required eventually, isn't it? and so i will.

in another world, i would have courted a man i thought i recognized and had begun to love against logic and reason; but i hold the arrow still now when the target is moving. i put the arrow down and return to finding love in the water that shines and sparkles of god; my gabriel, his smile full of stick and sand, the love letter.