Heather Quinn


knots along a threadbare rope 
winding back to the shtetls 
of Latvia, Poland, Lithuania
to Ellis Island
to survive
pack away the pogroms 
the green of Lvov 
the yellow Star of David
crematorium ash
handmade sweaters
hand-carved pipes
everything crammed
beneath skin and sinew
to be incarnated as sepsis 
barking dogs
my mother showered me
in splintered glass 
bits of Hebrew text
burning candles  
and wiry dolls
belonging to my grandmothers
to my great-grandmothers
this great great ache 
an ark to crush each rib
I examine dusty maps
crocheted afghans 
moth balls and matzo ball soup
every matchstick and cracked tooth
I whisper, Evelyn, Irene, Lena, Minnie
their names bound to this poem
scratched Into the earth of this poem
kneaded into the bread of this poem
rye to feed the dead

Heather Quinn is a poet living in San Francisco and is drawn equally to life’s light and shadows.  She is awed by that unnamable and indestructible force that burns brighter than shame.  Her poetry is often inspired by such heat as it reveals itself in language and art.  She has been published in Burning House Press, Zoetic Press’ Nonbinary Review, Minnesota Review, and West Marin Review among others.  Heather co-founded a peer-led poetry workshop, which has been meeting regularly since 2002. She spends her free time searching for sunshine through San Francisco’s fog while drinking black tea and trying to convince her cats to clean up after themselves for goodness sake.