She Won’t Shine Unless a Light Is Shone on Her. {poetry}



Catch before
you unleash the tangle

disclaimer on swinging door
snags sleeve

bruise blooms
where he clutched

wondering how much it will hurt
as you break the nest

uncomfortable pause invites possibility

you gaze into woods and know:
trees are ears

birds call from copse
their songs spiral and transcend circlet of timber

light bounces off quartz


Set fire to your list of doubts

send paper boat downstream
and sink under

find freedom

as you did

with your small hands

in the water

lifting sand


Cicadas crescendo and fall silent
reminding me of extremes

23, 53, 13

Tadpoles in jar
strung up across alley
small lights in dance hall
will-o’-wisps in wilderness

introvert extrovert
city girl country girl
from Billy Joel to David Bowie

you curled up with sad songs
but walked river’s edge
you found yourself dancing in glam light
and slipping into street night

keggers on quiet dirt roads
video games in small arcade
looping around looking for connection
caverns built around an absence

foot caught under rug propels you

you land hard and
upturn basket of masks

leave your layers on
coat rack at entrance

nude, asymmetrical
stretched from childbirth and stress
soft, strong as a beam

off the hook and taking steps

into echo chamber
where I hope you find
your own voice

sun bounces off metal dial

for a moment you stop seeing your obsessions


I expressed gratitude for the glow
emanating from closed chamber
reminder of warmth in solar plexus

one prefers sunlight
while other prefers bedside lamp

do you stoke blaze in stove
while gray ash settles on tongue?

She won’t shine unless a light is shone on her

pull out a fresh-baked cobbler and place on table
serve basket of warm naan next to clay pot of spicy curry
offer bright salad of homegrown produce

arrange wildflowers on page
with light angling in from outside


Define your boundary and make a pledge to it

honor your own personal space

as long as you love yourself as much as you love others,
as long as you love others,
as long as you love

there are many rises in your mountain range

when the sky cradles us, we are calm
when we stretch our bodies on earth, we are rested
when the sun warms our joints, we have energy
when the water feeds us, we are nourished

you want to shine yet seek light in closed settings
when does light you long for become less important than light you have?

Speak to your heart so others can hear
press your ear to it as a seashell while tide washes in
listen closely as water recedes from caverns

What might you learn as you fill?
What might you yearn as you empty?
What beauty can you lift from the plash?
What might you release to the shadows?


Zoe Krylova was born in Nicosia, Cyprus, and came to the US on a ship with her mother and her cat when she was four. She has been writing poems in tattered notebooks since she was small, finding it an effective way to weave together the disparate parts of her self, her ancestry, and her sense of home. She currently works in an art gallery and is a DJ at a community radio station, where she has been able to conquer her fear of the microphone and connect with people during the pandemic through sharing music that she loves. She also loves to hike, collage, take photographs, and sew. She lives near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, and is the mother of two humans, one feisty dog, and an aging cat.


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