Poetry: Renee Emerson


Published in Cider Press Review

I read books of myths, legends, consolations to add
to the untouched library of the mind.

Mother had never told me of the jeopardy
in this: the sound of girls

whispering, the role of witness at school,
with the other children.

The world hung outside my window like a ripe fruit,
a question mark.

So I dreamed I was my sister: an outward version of myself,
practiced in sighing and radiance.

The sumac tree’s sighing, the sun’s radiance.

My earthly feelings bud and flower, like lace
on a single question.

I read the days between winter and spring,
they go by ponderous and graceful as great blue whales.

In the ocean I would move as slow and would hear
nothing but the blood-rush in my ears,

Tree stumps and unused roots. To learn migration,
to keep your hand open, unflinching.


RENEE EMERSON teaches poetry at Shorter University. Her most recent chapbook is Where Nothing Can Grow (Batcat Press 2011) and her work has been published in Indiana Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Christianity and Literature.