Collecting Cosmic Keystones: The objects that Inform my femininity

I’ve always been a fan of fairy tales and stories that incorporate the traditional hero cycle. I love the parts of Neil Gaimen’s Coraline where the protagonist must find, in classic three-beat fashion, the eyes that Other Mother had stolen from the ghosted children. When I was a little girl, I would make myself lists of three or so objects that I must find in order to have a good day, or get an A on a test, or something like that. I would think to myself, “if I can find a Gore for President bumper sticker on the interstate, my crush will talk to me tomorrow.” It was essentially my own, contrived hero journey every day. Still, I find empowerment in collecting objects and archiving my existence through these curated knick-knacks.

Over the duration of our Womanly Influences Theme at Rag Queen, I would like to poetically archive the “objects” that the women I admire, fear, and love have left me. These are imaginary objects left by authors, characters, and family members so that I might discover and build my unique feminine and womanly perspective from childhood to adulthood - the ultimate cycle.

Please follow weekly for a new poem, and feel free to contribute your own artifacts left by the women who have influenced you.

I. The Hex of Shirley Jackson

were kept in the hollow

of her placenta like an offering at Sunday

mass where hot doughnuts are served

free out of garbage bags –

I taste the embroidery against styrofoam

coffees and let it sit at the gullet of my mouth,


She shoved her mirrors in all of us. Now we shake

hands, hesitant to speak to one another, to look

earnestly at the dark water of prayer.

#poetry #KaileyTedesco #womynfluences