invocation for my unborn
Elana Bell

little bird     little invisible
do you feel the pull of my
silent song

little bird     little beating
heart I cup my hands
to make a world for you

again I open to the tide
of tiny swimmers
and pray one reaches center

come come little one
yes I  call for you
out loud without shame

I’ve made my heart into a bowl
for you     hungry teacher
little grower from between the worlds

I call you with all my breath
and muscle     with this body
made to fill with you

I call you from my tunneled
center my millions of eggs
any of which could be you

call with my blood river
my throat & fat hands
with cooking spoon & iron pan

little one     little bird
I feed with my mouth
particle grown from seed

treasure     little mystery
little all the names
I do not know

little you I cannot find
in all my folds
little second heartbeat

I swear I hear
when I stand at the shore

little all the names I’ve named
you in my second tongue
& all your names mean light

little stranger    greedy bee
your wings tickle my womb
like an absent limb

little rib formed
from my rib
little sexless fish in dark waters

little anchor
tossed from the wooden boat
of our loving

little poem
I do not have the words for

little incantation
come come

through the sea that knows your names
through black night with its stars for eyes
through the wind & all its directions

let it blow you home


Elana Bell strives to create a space where all people’s voices and stories are heard and deeply valued, whether through her soul-stirring poetry, her dynamic performances on the stage, or her talks & workshops. Elana’s first collection of poetry, Eyes, Stones was selected by Fanny Howe as the winner of the 2011 Walt Whitman Award and was published by Louisiana State University Press in April 2012. Elana has led creative writing workshops for women in prison, for educators, for high school students in Israel-Palestine and throughout the five boroughs of New York City, as well as for the pioneering peace building and leadership organization, Seeds of Peace. She was a recent finalist for the Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism, an award which recognizes and honors a poet who is doing innovative and transformative work at the intersection of poetry and social change. Elana is currently developing a new project, Writing Toward Peace, which uses creative writing as a tool to support dialogue and peace building for people from regions in conflict. www.elanabell.com.

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