I tell you,
the body’s business is passion,
and this only.
The light has followed us into this room,
the small birds sing,
your nakedness is spruce and shadow,
cream and chestnut silk.
Joined, we move,
awash in delight,
unmediated sun and thunder.
In your embrace, I,
woman of most ordinary flesh,
have gained the garden.
Nancy A. Henry


Knowing myself dust
I am rooted in earth and lie down there often
feeling kin to country mothers
who eat dirt in secret,
packing soil around the hungry seed.
Old as I am,
I am liable to stretch out on grass any day
to watch the Earth’s view of the sky,
back welded to her sweet stony heartbeat,
all my blood slowing down.
God was wise to teach us
to plough ourselves under, enriching the field.
When that sure day comes,
may my body enjoy its sleep in dust and,
resurrected, say a little sad goodbye

to become at last all star.

Nancy A. Henry

Nuestra Señora de la Llama

 Nuestra Señora de la Llama
Mostly she is light,

Hiding a fire inside herself,

fingering the memory of matches.

She consoles herself with blood.

She consoles herself with salt.

She consoles herself with the pungent scarf

of your damp hair.


She ventriloquizes rain

as the myth of pure white

plays itself out

on the black whale’s back.


Never dropping her gaze,

Our Lady strikes fire on her bootsole.

 Nancy A. Henry


Buff your spirit bright as lemons.
Arrange the lichens, shells,
the tiny bones.
Let the multitudes a-crawl
in this withering grass
be your small Christs.
Praise their silence.
Kneel down.
Above you, the unkempt branches
shelter starlings in their tangles.
Higher still,
seven  crows
stroke the heavy silver light.
Be secretive, shadowed,
                                                                    your sisters have burned for less.


March carries you
on white shoulders
into spring
where the twisted thorn tree
blossoms into wounds again.
A calf bawls among
yellow meadow flowers.
You watch your sister,
the pale sheets billowing
from her hand,
grace lavished on the earth
like rain.
Nancy A. Henry