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Poetry

Erie

This was not the first time

I had seen water burn

Oil rigs oozed out their unctuous virtues

Sumptuous smoke rose from the lake’s mottled surface

And again

Just the other day

A whirlpool of fire

Formed Earth’s funeral pyre

 

Out of this portrait burst a vengeful spirit

Born from the salt of the sea

Wiry gold branches clung to her breasts

As if her lungs were the veins of the trees

Her voice pierced the night

Icy flutes shrieked her message

“Sparrows cannot sing while I burn,” she claimed

“Do not abandon me to die here in vain”

 

We came together in mourning

As mothers, as sisters, as lovers

The sky a cold black

Her skirts now a burnt orange

By midnight the beach was bursting with life

Women singing and dancing and intricately clapping

Holy trumpeters declared this our final plea

As we guided our mother back into the sea

 

At sunrise the birds still sang as before

Twittering sparrows filled the corners of my dreams

I gazed out past the shore as the morning mists faded

Or was it more smoke, not yet dissipated?

Weeping, I screamed “we must find a way back”

My fingers, charred and black, were burnt down to the bone

We stand here together—balanced, poised, exhausted and exposed

Clinging to the only edge we ever have known

Commissioned for the 2021 RCS Etch Festival

Major Arcana

I could spend all day staring at the stars

Wondering if the tower is upside down

              or right side up

Wondering if my future is turned up first

              or flipped over last

Wondering if you will give me an answer

 

I could spend all day staring at the stars

Feeling the beads of neon spray paint

              dripping down my arms

Feeling the juice of ripe summer peaches

              sticking between my fingers

Feeling in a space where I’m no longer along

 

I could spend all day staring at the stars

Glazing my eyes

              until there’s sparks round the corners

Phasing my blood

              until the tides run her dry

Tracing a line between me and you

 

I could spend all day staring at the stars

Wanting to crawl across this barroom floor

Wanting to climb inside of your sound

Wanting to break my own silence

 

I could spend all day staring at the stars

I could spend all day dreaming of what it means to be alive

I could spend all day being

Without a second of it spent living

Published in Poetry Undressed's December 2021 Magazine

What Comes Through in Silence

I swim in the blue

A dive within

A dip below

A shiver through skin

Like a girl on the prow

 

I nest in the green

A thunder beneath

A heaven above

A sigh of relief

Soft, like the wings of a dove

 

I burn through the red

Whose snapping insides

Burst a crackle throughout

Hold on for the ride

It’s too dangerous to doubt

 

Let me sleep drenched in black

Tucked in the fragments of yesterday’s clouds

Night’s sheltering storm

Gives way to a gold

Bright trembling morn

Published online by Poetry Undressed October 2021