Ann Howells



Initiating My Daughter    

                              by Ann Howells

Before your childish body
rounds and softens,
before some smooth-skinned boy
rocks your equanimity,
as night’s bright crescent
pierces the Eastern sky—
we curl in the porch swing,
lap robe tucked around our feet.

Moonflowers twine the railing,
lucent, blue-sheen faces tipped
as I explain little winters
that come before spring, before rebirth:
womb damp, lush with fern—
cushioned bower, life cradle
where once I cradled you.

Before you outgrow fairy-tales
still half-believed,
before the first blood spills—
I whisper mysteries in your ear,
your eyes wide with wonder
that you, girl-child, are pilgrim
in this ancient rite.

Before you turn in seasons,
before you pull and press the tides,
know you hold life
behind your flat belly,
clasp miracles in your hand—
Snow White and Rose Red,
virgin and goddess, woman.


Ann Howells is a longtime member of Dallas Poets Community. She has served on its board since it incorporated, as president from 2009-2012. She has edited their biannual journal, Illya’s Honey, for fourteen years. In 2009, she took 1st place in The Legendary’s Bukowski Contest. She was a finalist in 2008 NavWorks Poetry Competition and in Southern Hum’s 2007 Women of Words. Her chapbook, Black Crow in Flight, was published by Main Street Rag (2007) and a limited edition chapbook, the Rosebud Diaries, by Willett Press (2012). In 2006, she took 1st in Southwest Writers’ Club Poetry Competition. She has been interviewed on J.W. Clark’s television show, Writers Around Annapolis, had her work read on NPR (Atlanta) and been twice nominated for a Pushcart, once for a Best of the Web. Her work appears in many small press and university journals and anthologies, including Borderlands, Calyx, Crannog (Ire.), Free State Review, and RiverSedge.


Blackcrow       Rosebud