Poetry by Rena Medow (philosopher, poet, playwright, painter)

Shell Shock

I remember what happened: a terrible thing
how we took a butterfly and slit its wings
into so many fractions the color caked off :
stained our
fingernails. You cocooned yourself for weeks
until I could no longer recognize the flutter inside
as anything other than dying.
By the time you finally trembled out of your shell,
your halo had fallen
I knelt on the ground and felt
for the chambers we all come from, the gun
shells that we bury.


The iPhone as a mirror

In every clock
there is a woman
texting a stranger
and embroidering a curtain

It's chronic
this cutting up a pear
to realize it's not a pear

So you could say
I'm wearing my bicycle helmet
for no particular reason

If autocorrect can't make me
the person I want to be,
maybe no one can.


Encounters with rose lipstick

Stumbled into
a strange man with toffee skin and tattoos
26 years old
and now his tongue is on my teeth
tennis hands sliding up

my dress
polka dots
I guess

latte's are never free


a casual libretto

My friend says, "everybody wants to be an actress."
I am trying    not      to want      to be   an actress:

I wrench my phone out of my hands,
practice sharpening 'presence'
Meditate by candlelight, and write
to do lists on my thighs. Yoga is muscles
tightening into exclamation points.
Today a boy told me he likes it when
I use words he doesn't understand. But meant
he likes how I sleep in mountains deep of costumes.
I wish my heart wasn't a box office. But it is.
So take your ticket and watch me: an understudy
of myself, script torn, stuttering through the pages.



Flooded with Decoys

Commas laugh everywhere, thunder rolls in bed beside me and we kiss, mouths
open like a flashlight with no batteries. When he left, I watched myself in the
reflection of my bicycle handle, the rearview mirror, the teapot. Just to check that I
was still alive. My eyes kept changing colors. They seemed to say, "This unhappiness
is my greatest masterpiece." They seemed to say, "I keep my vintage cover clean. I
am paperback and mean." How could a girl undrown herself? He is the spilled, the
milk I weep over. And I am a keening jar    made of breastbone and flooded    with
decoys. Ask me why there are lilies under my pillow,    ask me why I bury the letters
of my name    like tulip bulbs in his garden, dig them up to mimic the way    he plays
with staccatos.    Gather these answers like    foxgloves. Tinker with them until you're
no longer    allergic to flowers.


Rena Medow was born 18 years ago in the desert, and now resides in small town Wisconsin where she teaches art, poetry, creative and expository writing classes at her high school. She's taken courses at NYU and Brown University, and hopes to attend college somewhere on the east coast next year to learn how to make films and write books. To read more of her poems, follow her on instagram @unraveling.rena or on Facebook as Rena Medow.