the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Fall 2008



Larissa Shmailo


Cellular grandfather, pity me: once it was understood
how things were done, how the boiling ferns invited
the glaciers to come, how the dinosaurs asked to die.
Oscillation: The world was born in swing and sway, and I,
fasting slowly, am not random nor mad, but large, and
more precise than you. My blood makes air and cells; my
moon subtends the sky; my tides squeeze life out of rock.
All my night journeys find a sun; I leave orchards and
olives behind.


The Course of Grief

This sorrow trips your steps like stones on a path,
loosening, always sliding, preventing a climb.

You will not emerge from her stone chamber. You,
if you could, will not forget her subterranean voice.

Her bright call will not return and her eyes will not
open. An urn is turned and emptied in the sea.

Iolite, tanzanite, rings for fingers still remembered,
still clasped like a phantom, welcomed, cruel.

Show me your tear-scarred eyes, show me your face.
Say to me: I was robbed, the best was taken

For some evil cause or no reason at all,
because some fate failed did I lose my child?

Say keening, silence, my hands for tears; I, too,
know the stone's voice and the chasm of these years.



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