Rachael Ikins (Colours of Love and Barriers)

Rachael Ikins
Rachael Ikins is a 2016/18 Pushcart, 2013/18 CNY Book Award, 2018 Independent Book Award winner, & 2019 Vinnie Ream & Faulkner poetry finalist. 2021 Best of the Net nominee. She is a Syracuse University graduate and author/illustrator of nine books in multiple genres. Her writing and artwork have appeared in journals worldwide from India, UK, Japan, Canada and US. Born in the Fingerlakes she lives by a river with her dogs, cats, salt water fish, a garden that feeds her through winter and riotous houseplants with a room of their own. Frogs found their way to her fountain. Dragons fly by.


My wife fell in love this summer.
I didn’t know what to do.  Neither did she.
It was obvious. My heart went out to her.

She is 51 going on 12 years old.  We play Scrabble
 long winter nights.  She doesn’t invent words,
she uses German, French and Spanish. When my score
 begins to climb she removes her underwear, hikes 
her night-gown up to just there. I swear I can’t think
 of anything wordy after that.
“Strip Scrabble” she calls it, not cheating.

She has tattoos and body piercings.
Writes photographic, honest poetry.
Can’t type worth shit. Totes a gun and wears 
camouflage pants. Swears-words defend her
 in ways I never could. She is

my hero.

I love her, her butch cut, bravery and
how she loves her pet pig, Roosevelt. I love her silly
 puns, ridiculous jokes. How she cries for fallen soldiers
 after every war,
for those losing the battle with time,
and homeless cats.  I love how she fights, is rarely silent. 
That she licks the batter bowl when I make cake.

She is bossy, opinionated and not very good at sharing.
The most generous woman I’ve ever known.

I love how she tries to free
prisoners, to rescue other trapped wild things 
and most of all
I root for her as she tries

to free herself. I love
her coming out, and yet how
she goes to sleep
each night
with me.

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