Emily Strauss

 
This Week's Submissions
    (with thanks to New Pages)
 

this week we are seeking

stark and meaningful words

a dialog between ambiguity

and a concept, words raw

shuddering, unabashed

language that drips thick

and pierces us deeply

 

storytelling both precise

and oddly angled

with moments that segment

life into before and after

 

work that roars, quietly

that makes our hearts

swell with bitterness and joy—

 

nothing written to satisfy

the imagined capacities

and desires of an audience,

please

 

I will try.

 

 

 

“sound like a bubble on the surface of silence...”

 

do you hear that?

 

When I'm alone, I'm deaf

to the Other, there is no reply

small noises disappear

into the thin air at noon

the quiet a vast ocean

of white light.

 

but do you hear that?

 

Amidst all the traffic

a pure white heron stands

motionless in the canal

riders pass by, the white

stalk of long legs and beak

not waving in the wind

trucks bleating against

the stagnant water.

 

I think I can hear now.

 

My window is closed tight

against night's murmur

distant frogs & crickets

settling feathers of an owl

but I hear nothing outside

my thick glass walls,

I am sealed and safe.

 

there — a bubble rising!

 

The silence grows heavy

within the room, we watch

her sleep, all day now,

motionless on the narrow

cot where we gather 

to keep vigil over 

her shortening breaths

become gasps,

we hold hands.

 

bubbles on the deep silent water

 

I hold my breath, dive

the pressure filling my ears

down past the warmed surface

to a cool layer, the sun

sparkling like shards overhead

but I only know my lungs

blood flowing inside, waiting

waiting to surface again, release

 

Now I can hear the silence.

 

I'm alone again

it's night, the dream

returns, I rise and the clock

noiselessly flashes

the minutes turning over

sheets rustle against

my thighs, up my arms

the house undisturbed

street lamp glowing

on a deathly lawn, silent.

 

 

 

On being broken—

 

we are mostly bits & pieces

of ideas, partial reflections

of a mother, a child, detritus

of a chaotic room with a TV

blaring, old potato chip bags,

dirty laundry, bread crumbs

the dog kicking in its sleep

 

we are formed of fragments

alone, solitary strands like

green algae in a slow stream

or a clump of fur torn off

a road-killed rabbit, glued

back a little by hope or

despair, we don't know which

 

and we step forward expecting

all our pieces to follow

our shadow— when they don't

we blame our family, our job

the weather, anything but

the universe that broke apart

in one moment and has been

distancing itself ever since.

 
 
 

THE COURTSHIP OF WINDS

© 2015 by William Ray