Butoh / Barbarians – by CARRIE REDWAY

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I saw a Butoh dancer once

snap her back in mid-step

jerk her neck to the side

I gasped

it was surreal

but part of the dance.


My spine is an old witch’s crooked cane.


I am afraid that I might lean too far and

like a leather belt, crack–

vertebrae will fray,

two dangling ropes

hovering behind my rib cage

pinned up only by the mass of blood

tissue insulating the bones

which are ready to drop, tired

too withered

under the pressure of





and womanhood.


The Butoh music tingles;

the dancer collects herself from the floor.



When Eve was cast from Eden

the garden excreted her.


New fingernails fragile like shale

grappled the dirt. Her bones

snapped backward hitting embedded tree roots.

She dragged her breasts

over wet leaves and sharp stems.

Once familiar weeds

that never touched too close before

now scraped like needles. A raging fire at her feet.


She cared for Adam’s old, rusty body.

“But it was all Eve’s fault,” the men wrote.


I am the fruit. I am

the woman. And sometimes I am the serpent.

“Where it was all red,” the children sang.


Sometimes I will spit on the dirt I’ve been tilling

and walk away. Out of the garden


where Eve was once gold.



Carrie Redway is a writer and mixed media artist in Seattle, WA. She is inspired by myth, folklore and ritual. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Really System, Picaroon Poetry and sea foam magazine. She tweets @carrie_redway.

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