December 2015, Issue #3



Lise Weil
Kristin Flyntz


Debra Magpie Earling

From The Lost Journals of Sacajewea

Melissa Kwasny

AfterWord from Ghost Dance: the Poetics of Loss (Debra Magpie Earling)

Naeemeh Naeemaei

Dreams before Extinction

Deena Metzger

Our Radiant Lives

Mary Sutton

Her Body is Burning

Naomi Shihab Nye

My Grandmother Said

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha


Sara Wright

Tree Holocaust

Beverly Naidus

Curtain Call: Portable Altars for Grief and Gratitude

Marilyn DuHamel

Turning Point

Susan Cerulean

Bear Requiem

Margo Berdeshevsky

Our Safe Word


Mei Mei Sanford

Serach Bat Asher Speaks

Lise Weil

First, a Mother: Interview with Megan Hollingsworth of
ex•tinc•tion wit•ness

Caroline Casey

Beauty from Brokenness: Interview with Lily Yeh

Sharon English

AfterWord Our Call to Indigenous Consciousness: Taiaiake Alfred’s Wasáse

Cynthia Anderson

From the Beginning

Anne Bergeron

Calling out the Names

Julie Gabrielli

Song of the Chesapeake

Nora Jamieson

I am Nothing without my Dead

Patricia Reis

AfterWord Nora Jamieson’s Deranged

Rebecca Brams

The Bone in My Yard: a Story-Carrier’s Path

Lise Weil

Listening to Natural Law: Interview with Ayya Santacitta

Courtney Cable

AfterWord Kenny Ausubel’s Dreaming the Future

Cynthia Travis


Margo Berdeshevsky

Our Safe Word

Our Safe Word

This is a piece I am reluctant to explain too much. It must reach the eye and the mind and the heart—on its own, I hope. I ask and want it to ring loudly, or to whisper, but for itself and for its reader(s.) There are rituals that suggest that there is such a thing as a “safe word.” The montage of the poem with the darkly shadowed bells is one way for me to ask and to say—the bells are speaking now. Aren’t they? They have, before. But now is now. And now is when we live—while we still do. This is not a safe time. Of course, we know that. We know how precarious our time and each life is. We are trying like hell to defend against our breaking. We are nearly beyond any language that will stop what we fear. Or stop the lying. Or the memories. We have been living more consciously, but more tragically, in a time when each event insists that we are beyond breaking. That we are broken. And we want a word, a memory, an action—that says “stop.” Don’t we?? What occasions such a poem is simply—being alive in my time. Our time. And aching for—seeking a word, some word(s) that might bear what we are knowing, and what we are yet desperate for. Desperate for safety? For peace? For better memories? Of course. What word will make our lives safe? I’m trying, as you are—to find it.

Margo Berdeshevsky Margo Berdeshevsky - born in New York City, often writes in Paris. Her newest poetry manuscript was a finalist for the National Poetry Series, 2015. Her published poetry collections are Between Soul & Stone, and But a Passage in Wilderness (Sheep Meadow Press.) Her book of illustrated stories, Beautiful Soon Enough, received Fiction Collective Two’s Innovative Fiction Award, (University of Alabama Press.) Other honors include the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America, the & Now Anthology of the Best of Innovative Writing, numerous Pushcart prize nominations for works in Poetry International, New Letters, Kenyon Review, The Collagist, Tupelo Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, among others. In Europe her work has been seen in The Poetry Review (UK) The Wolf, Europe, Siècle 21, & Confluences Poétiques. A multi genre novel, Vagrant, is at the gate. Her “Letters from Paris” may be seen in Poetry International here: She may be found reading from her books in London, Paris, New York City, or somewhere new—in the world.
For more information, kindly see:

Want to comment on any Issue of Dark Matter, fill out the form here.


Copyright © 2014-2021 Dark Matter: Women Witnessing   -   All rights reserved to individual authors and artists.
Please report any problems with this site to