My Writing

Paper Mâché

I, Rachel, your oh-so-humble entertainer, have prepared a poem for you on behalf of National Poetry Month. This one was published in Pacific Lutheran University’s literary journal, Saxifrage, in 2018.



Paper Mâché


Stale water, flour in clumps

form a sticky paste

mold a mask and arms and chest

down to hollow waist.


Paper layers in my skin,

I break these brittle bones.

Whispering winds tear these limbs

that have withstood sticks and stones.


I lay me out and let me dry,

thin joints stiff with glue.

For hours on end, let me begin

to carve my form for you.


And as the cracks in my skin snap,

my body bends and drags,

the paper skeleton sweeps away;

caught on jagged snags.


I feel this face upon my skull

of aging yellow sheets;

I don’t recognize my own eyes

sunk deep in my cracking face.


The more I try to solidify

my shaky stance, the more I buckle;

I tumble in the dark,

shred by shred; I stumble.


I peel myself apart.


Paper layers in my skin;

I unravel shards

of air bereft

of breath; when I look upon myself

there is nothing left.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash