Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time the very walls are permeated by their creative force, which has, indeed, so overcharged the capacity of bricks and mortar that it must needs harness itself to pens and brushes and business and politics.

Virginia Woolf
A Room of One’s Own



She remembers all the women who have sat indoors tending fires

and women who walked, carrying water jugs

on their heads; waters in placental sacs within their bodies. Women

who scooped clay and breathed life into vessels, into stories, into songs,

into the material of sustenance. They, like she, planted seeds,

harvested blossoms, fruits, roots, and seasoned meals at their tables

with stories of women through generations – the walls

permeated by the creative forces of women, the bricks

charged with dreams, suffused with memories of sunlight, rivers,



The brick maker scoops clay from the bed of river. Its coolness coats

her hands as she smoothes clay into form, evens exposed surfaces

with trowel. At her kiln altar she kindles flame, bakes

away water, crystals. Basalts of ocean floor and granites of land

comingle, sing, and in the final

flash of inferno, fuse.


For days the bricks breathe out heat. They inhale sunshine, desert

night air. The brick maker sweeps away ash. She lifts

her bricks. One by one, she carries them

to her secret place by the river. One by one

she massages them


with mortar, humming a Mixolydian memory as she works.

Brick by brick she builds her place, a base as ancient

as sea floor and continent whose crystals

give rise to light and life.


Memories of mineral pulse

a scintillating song.


The brick maker sings

as worlds burn within her,



The tender of the hearth

hums as her hands push into dough, as she

pushes another stick into the cooking fire


as words effervesce


she hums – orients toward

door, leans out, tending toward light. She

rises, crosses threshold

to seek her place

among rocks,

at a shore,

in a cave, beside

a stream, within

a light-filled room –


to set cadence to page.

She must rise to this task even if

no one ever reads her words

because the great machinery of the world depends

upon the highly-tuned listener: the woman

who sets down her


and begins

the rendering.