Watched by crows and friend to salamanders, Lisa Creech Bledsoe is a hiker,
beekeeper, and writer living in the mountains of Western North Carolina (USA).
She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of two full-length books of poetry,
Appalachian Ground (2019), and Wolf Laundry (2020). She has new poems out or
forthcoming in The Blue Mountain Review, American Writers Review, Sky Island
, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Red Fez, and River Heron Review, among
others. Website:


A well-made sheet is used more effectively when there are areas of the paper left unprinted to go hand-in-hand with the artist's work.

1. Washi

Clean lengths of kōzo are cut and tied in bundles,
pounded, separated, stripped. It is the beginning
of the arduous collapse into beauty.

When it is stacked into vats—I have seen this—
the cooking house steams from every corner
thunderheads of fragrant prayer.

There is still unmaking to accomplish,
cleaning, the searching out
and laboring toward becoming.

2. Woman

Decisions separate themselves into snow
flurries. I peel the tape from my exoskeleton—
a wreckage the mud will annex. Wet

and permeable, I smell potential,
a bit like fox and crushed mint, maybe.
I cut and stack lengths of blue every shade

until I am filled and stretched with light
which will not forget its cobalt,
its sun and pale silver. Now

3. Mountain

these thin birch sticks, scraped and built
fragrant into nests until every
mother flushes with yetborn chicks

clamoring for birth. She will add stems
of bee balm, goldenrod, baling twine.
Whatever stands still unmade by winter.

Our senses are draped in white,
winter-wedding gifts. We are
building heat with every song.

4. Crow

Crow peers inside at this new fiber—
a rosy, intoxicated spray of light
on winter's ice. What febrile beauty

we nurture is a lattice of sunwork,
a gossamer web, mostly empty space.
This is how our relationship is built.

There is nothing to judge. There is
only this durable transparency,
this sturdy bamboo walking stick.

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