Two Poems by Allison Thorpe

She Rode

 For Diane Crump, first woman jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby

She rode

the fame of first

the steel in a woman’s heart

the will over can’t   shouldn’t   don’t

She rode

the creak of the saddle

the home of stirrup

the reins of daring

She rode 

the boos of ignorance

the snickers behind the facade

the obstacles of constant arising

She rode 

the storm in her face

the dust at her back

the mud that drenched her goggles

She rode

for the roses

for the moment

for the future

She rode

when cold pierced bone

when boycott sullied gender 

when threat demanded protection

She rode

a pride of winning

a badge of onward

a smile that cracked the ceiling of the world


The Myth of Water

after Ashley Cecil’s Holding a Bowl of Dust

Long are the days

And still the air

Our skin is dust

Our skirts

Our hearts

At night from their mats

The children beg 

The story of water

How wet was once the world

How water sweetened soil

How green and blue pleasured the eye

How mountains thundered to rivers

And seas cuddled fish   

How our brows wept in heat                

How corn plumped with drizzle

How giggling babies splashed

While tongues lingered smooth                            

And generous in the mouth

Then weather drove the rain

Deep into cave and trench

Where even our wailing 

Prayers will not resurrect dew   

And the sun, once friend

Has turned to scorch and crust

We watch parched motes 

Pirouette among scrub and flats

Our bowls of corn and yams

Hold nothing now but earth’s ashes

We serve to the gluttonous winds

Allison Thorpe is the author of Reckless Pilgrims (Broadstone Books 2021), one other full-length book of poems, and four chapbooks. Forthcoming works include the mystery When the Bough Breaks (Wild Rose Press) and the poetry chapbook Barhopping With Scarlett O’Hara (dancing girl press). She is the recipient of several grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, a past board member of the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, and a current mentor at The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. She lives in Lexington and loves lilacs.