Christine Pacyk

high ridin’ woman (2)

But if someone could break her
And take her whip away –
Someone big, someone strong, someone tall –
You may find that the woman with a whip
Is only just a woman after all. (Repeat and fade.)

from “High Ridin’ Woman,” a song by Harold Adamson & Harry Sukman as sung by The Sons of the Pioneers, 1957

The thread he left at the center
xxxxxxcannot sustain — umbilical cord

tethered to a storm. Heft of handle,
xxxxxxthe way her wrist guides fall

& popper home, how finite
xxxxxxbecomes infinite, sonic booms

in miniature. Whips were the first
xxxxxxman-made object to break

the sound barrier. Fingers with scraped knuckles
xxxxxxmeasure her wrist, pry her fingers

free; she moves between elation & desolation,
 xxxxxxlook here, here, here, conditioned to say

don’t push                   nothing at all.


Christine Pacyk is a high school English teacher by day and a writer by night. Her poems have appeared in the journals Found Poetry Review and Beloit Poetry Journal, among others. In 2011, she received the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award for her poems “Postcards from Paris” and  “Valdosta.” In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, running, biking, spending time with her husband, and playing with her three crazy dogs.