Serpentine by Tara K. Shepersky & Lucy Bellwood

Serpentine by Tara K. Shepersky & Lucy Bellwood


Poems by Tara K. Shepersky
Paintings by Lucy Bellwood


Let an island
in the braided stream
choose you

Serpentine is poet Tara K. Shepersky’s topography of the California that raised and sustains her, landmarked by sites of homecoming and haven: a sinuous verdigris river triangulates with coastal tide scooping out pools of curiosity and mountains backing her up like deep-rooted friends. Equally at home on these shared shores, artist Lucy Bellwood unsaddles easel, cups the colors of water, and composes beckoning landscapes recalling glass plate negatives, here cushioned for the bare-soled wanderer’s return.


Edition of 500
104 pages, paperback, 12×17 cm, color offset, sewn & glued
Printed on Arctic Munken Print Cream 115 and Pure Rough 300
Designed by Pilar Rojo
ISBN 978-83-968444-4-6


Tara K. Shepersky is a poet, essayist, contemplative wanderer, and handwriting enthusiast based in Portland, Oregon. Lucy Bellwood is a cartoonist, writer, and space-maker living in Ojai, California.

Serpentine is Tara and Lucy’s second collaboration with Bored Wolves, the first being Tell the Turning (2021), a collection of Tara’s poems illustrated by Lucy’s drawings.


Four poems from Serpentine:

Creation Story

I want to live as madrone tree
sheds her bark.

She never stops.
The process is a spiral in from cinnamon
that curls back like bread fresh from the fire

reveals that hue in a breathless noon
that smells like the moment the sun sits up
and sips the cup of dew from rested grass.

Singing, that one fissures
as everything does. And madrone tree,
listening hard at the beautiful wound

effortfully, confidently
tears the old in two

and makes more room.


Swimming as Communion

Shock of body slices river.
Invincible crowns break
and then retreat.

Azalea waves, wild
with lazy sweetness.

Face to sky, pray to river.
Cold green answer
pours inside of ears.

Underwater the rest of the human day:
open mouth, expect to breathe in bubble.
Architecture of auricle, etc.,
firmly questioned.

Overnight, river dreams groundward.
Wake to thrush-song,
child of air again.

Wild tears swimming after,
underland-seeping. Heavy and sure:
salmon going home.


Holy Well

A river of pilgrims
floods the famous grove.
Children shriek.
And ospreys, thrilled by fish.
And osprey children.

We have to wade
to greet the ancient shade.

My heart in my feet
my feet in my creek
my creek in its endlessly
restlessly patterning
restful chattering

welcome, pilgrim.


Noticing How the Sun Has Moved
But I Am Sitting Still

it is time to go
I tell myself
but why
am I so afraid
to anchor
in a single
shingle beach

Serpentine by Tara K. Shepersky & Lucy Bellwood Image 2 Serpentine by Tara K. Shepersky & Lucy Bellwood Image 3 Serpentine by Tara K. Shepersky & Lucy Bellwood Image 4 Serpentine by Tara K. Shepersky & Lucy Bellwood Image 5