Poetry from Emilie Mayer

Response to Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude: Synaesthesia of Poetry

My eyes turned to plums
swelled from a day of pages;
words I wrap round my thumb
and eat as raspberries.

Finger roots in the mud,
and I wonder: Standing on hands
will my legs turn to branches?
Shrubs growing from my lexicon.

The grass’ scent, interchangeable
with the bible under my pillow;
promised luck, the sand dollars
like ash filling street cracks.

And does all poetry carry memory
for the reader?
The bookshelf in that cottage home
might’ve held damp pavement,
snow brick forts, my guardian’s shampoo.

And is my work kindred to myself?
Bath soap between stanzas
and the coconut rub I’ve worn
since my knees first appeared
from under my skirt.

Now my wrinkles mirror thought
and will all poems today taste of
childhood encounters with
unearthed rollie pollies and graves dug
for stingless bees?

Should’ve been dust


I should’ve been dust by now—
my heartbeat knows
in dissonance with legacy’s agenda.

Pulse pulled from my throat,
cuts jagged cherry cheeks.
My point, somewhat lost
in searching for religion on the subway.


(I swear an angel slept against my lap;
that old man smelled of narrative.)
My point, somewhat lost
in replicating grandmother’s braids
upon my own ahistoric skin.
(I carry blood of half the continents,
but soon everything empties into nothing.)


I was made as a wall,
built of stone and sticks
of shattered hearts and mended minds—
I crumble some, more each day.


Time so wants me to shift
and follow the names carved in stone,
when all I know is how to stay.


Tracking the rhythm within my chest.
My pulse knows,
I should’ve been dust by now.

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