Published on Academy of American Poets (

A water woman has no body

Emptiness is a blessing:
it can’t be owned if it doesn’t exist.
My father said to bloom but never fruit—
a small trickle 
eating its way through stone.
I am one kind of alive:
I see everything the water sees.
I told you a turn was going to come 
& turn the tower did.
What are the master’s tools 
but a way to dismantle him.
Who will replace the blood of my mother in me—
a cold spring rising.
She told me a woman made of water 
can never crack.
Of her defeat, she said
this is nothing.


Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Ciccarello. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 11, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Lately I’ve found, and I’m probably not alone in this, that everything feels like a little battle. Since poetry is where I work out my concerns and fears, I’ve started placing what I see as everyday struggles—with family, history, finances, enforced hierarchies, the weight of the opinions of others, existing in a body—into a heightened, sometimes bordering on epic, framework. This poem is a small part of that undertaking.”
—Lisa Ciccarello


Lisa Ciccarello

Lisa Ciccarello is the author of At Night (Black Ocean Press, 2015). She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Date Published: 2017-10-11

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