Bio Note: Now that quarantine summer is over, I am teaching via Zoom, still doing yoga via Zoom, walking around my neighborhood, and grading papers while YouTube plays Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.... or the crazy Ethiojazz that winds up on my feed. I am surprised by our chilly fall of 2020. My new book, Poetry en Plein Air, is now available on Amazon and at Pony One Dog Press.
At Seneca Creek in the Fall
Brown leaves drift down like birds, land on the creek, float away. Turtles, like hard brown leaves, drift above the creek floor. Yellow leaves dazzle, sunlight on a cloudy day. In the clearing, mosquitos rise. Last bees browse on goldenrod that floods the field. A tree stoops to take a drink from the dry pond. Mushrooms spring up on fallen trees— were they always there?
A Wake in a World of Fire
Having woken at dusk, the woman sips iced coffee with flax milk, watching today’s harsh light draining from the cloudless sky. Its blues gentle to indigo-pink. Shadows turn to cool compresses, ice long melted. A fan stirs the over-conditioned air. She quickly dresses to go out to the wake for summer days when she rose at dawn, played in fields of matted grass and splashed in copper colored brooks while older girls in bikinis lay in the sun and Beatles sang. She never was one of them. She wears a white cloak, hood tightly covering her bare, pink scalp. Sweeping out to the cooling sidewalk, she thinks—this is my world now—grass gone to sand, streets painted white, no birds or bugs above, only humming from driverless cars. Some dream of moving to Buffalo, the breeze floating in from Lake Ontario, snow drifting in come December. She refuses. She lives here.
Originally published in Narwhal
After the End of the World of Fire
In this dream, I walk north without subways to save me. Cobblestones stretch out to island’s blasted end. Fifth Avenue swallows up all sidewalks, all grass, all trees. Ash falls like snow. Stones crack and crumble. Zinc white buildings hug the edge. Chalk men in doorways wait to cross the streets on this burnt-out star where we live. I step on jagged cracks and ground glass, dodging cars until I wake, reach Inwood, or die. I no longer believe in anyplace to rest: churches, cafes, parks that resisted this once-pitiless fire now flickered out.
Originally published in Poppy Road Review
©2020 Marianne Szlyk
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