The Missouri Review: Winners! of our Art of... →
themissourireview: The Missouri Review and textBOX are delighted to announce the winners of the Art of Omission contest. We asked entrants to compose a short short or poem of 50 words or fewer using only the words contained in an excerpt from Reesa Grushka’s essay “Arieh.” From the 68 entries received, we…
When my mother called me, I was crying and thinking of praying and knowing that my lips would not do so. My knees were kissing carpet and my eyes were swollen closed. I talked and said nothing, listened and felt emptied out. If there is a door that opens to an ocean that stretches towards the sun, take me there. Let me bury the things I carry beneath grains of sand that promise to...
what a weird sad day this has been. so much like the others before it, it falls into a line of ordered chaos and my head has a hard time dealing with the sameness that occurs. my heart tells me she is tired of this, and i tell her that i agree. all of the kite strings look like nooses that i would like to tie to the branches of a tree i once thought was home, in the backyard of my...
I keep love letters beneath the boards and buried below covers of beds belonging to lovers now gone. Your name, the last scribbled into the seams of my covers. The cat stops to smell those corners, the ones that used to wind across your back like the veins of a map—I traveled there and never came back. When I walk by mirrors, my eyes ask the rest of me where I went. For...
"Tonight No Poetry Will Serve"
~Dedicated to Adrienne Rich, Rest Passionately and in Peace~ It has been just one day, not even that, that you have been gone. And it feels like so many lifetimes curled into a handful of hours. Your skin streamed revolution before anyone had a label for it, and they called you names through saliva that was thick with spite, but you kept writing those wishes for a world without war, a world...
You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.– Adrienne Rich, What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics (via awritersruminations)
the roadmap in the ruins
there is a scar on the inside of your arm that points me in the direction of a home my feet have never walked inside of. when i step inside, my heart jumps like the jugular vein from a fresh slaughter.
three deaths last week and i cannot stop to think about how loss winds itself around the body the way wind wraps itself around the bones of a tree. shake this storm out of my eyes. i carry the names of the departed as if they were tissues in my pockets, worn-down and laundered, forgotten about until touched.
winter told me
winter told me that darkness isn’t only muted light, that if i raise my voice against another’s throat, something somewhere will shatter, that if i cannot stop myself from sleeping all day long, i should stop fighting so hard against doing so, and that my heart is an animal held captive in a bodyful of bullets
your body is a coffin my body would like to rest inside of when the time to leave pulses against my skin the way the ocean licks the sand clean
Come, let us hide nearer each other… Life lies in every heart As in coffins. ...– Else Lasker-Schüler, from “End of the World” (translated by Michael Gillespie and Willis Barnstone)
What is left behind after a fight— the molecules in the air still burn frenzied fires and the echoes of the slammed door reverberate through the house as if belonging to a broken grandfather clock. When the rain causes the heads of the tulips to bow as if they were nuns in a church, that is when you stand at the bay windows and weep, your left arm supporting your weight as your cat...
Today at work the woman whom I helped reminded me of my mother. She had the same rings of denim blue around both irises and wrinkles that made her forehead look like layers of sand in the moonlight. When she began speaking of her grandson, that is when I gave up my heart. How to describe the rise and fall of our conversation if not to say, the birds in my chest began to hurl their...
On days where the wind licks my neck like the neighbor’s dog, all nape and nurture, you blaze through my mind like tongues of lightning scalding my skin with their sheer force. I can see the last image of your face so clearly, as if you have not been gone for three years, as if you are still just a car ride or a call away. You told me, “I’m sure I’ll see you soon,”...
a dirge for the daily routine
and what of that chance meeting makes you stop and think, hours later, of the way your heart thrummed against your ribs like a train on tracks horizon-bound? there is a sun that gasps across your skin when you take the car out before dusk falls. she makes your eyes wish they were never empty for how full she leaves them. she makes you think autumn is where you belong, instead of a season...
the sky does not say
These days, the sky tells me nothing at all. Except for when it breaks, that is when I know that somewhere, someone is unfolding my prayers. Although I haven’t prayed in months, I have sent origami cranes towards manholes to do my bidding. They have bowed beneath sheets of rain that tug on their necks yet they continue to float downstream until they leave my sight. You tell me that the...
what we didn't know then
was that we were not beyond the point of breaking, that the sun did not rise solely for our eyes as we stayed up through the night and kept watch from the window, and that the birds carried our prayers to their nests and not the sky. what we didn’t know then is that burning means death, means not here, means disappearing act, not scent of smoke against skin, not bonfire beneath the...
The Nature of the Beast
(http://abcnews.go.com/US/zanesville-animal-massacre-included-18-rare-bengal-tigers/story?id=14767017) Imagine an afternoon in Ohio. A woman is watering her plants. The breeze against her neck is soothing. She bends down to straighten the tulip stems. Behind her, the bushes rustle. When she turns and looks back, a tiger is watching her cautiously. Before she can scream out, a bullet exits the...
the dervish's dance
I have lost my religion, but all I can do is become drunk off this rebellion like a dancing dervish spinning from infatuation with the Beloved. I have swallowed down sins that have made me breathe fire. No amount of holy water can baptize this body into a confessional. There is an acceptance in the way the wind winds itself against my neck, without wrapping her fingers around my jugular to...
days like this, when no breeze enters the room, i wonder if the wind is tired. i am tired, today. i want so many things that i cannot claim. like a stray dog searching for shelter, i run between houses, trying to see which door will open, which porch light will turn on first. if i tell you yes, will you say yes back?
slow and steady
can you feel the electricity even now? don’t come closer or i will burn your skin with a smoke that will leave your eyes tearing up long after i’ve left. there is this toxicity i carry and i think you should know that everything i touch becomes bitter. give me water and i will it into liquor. your throat will thrum with vomit that you’ll leave all over my bedsheets. i...
i drive with no destination in mind, roll the windows down and they gape open like wounds. i let the wind wind itself around my body like veins. the cold air stings my skin. i don’t mind. i cruise through all the red lights, looking back for sirens. when i look forward, i keep watch for animals walking towards home. when the sun sets, the sky becomes a love note to the grass- so...
the longing season
The apartment screen door is open and the birds are loud in their chirping. It is the first day of spring and it feels like this season has been here for awhile. The smell of meat grilling makes my stomach knot in remembrance of childhood: my mother’s chicken roasting above a tray of quartered potatoes in the oven. Although I have been a vegetarian for seven years now, I have never craved meat...
searching for salt
I break things always, I bust them up so good until you can’t tell the difference between a birthmark and a bruise. Maybe such violence runs through my veins the way wild horses run as helicopters roar overhead, pushing them further and futher towards the edge of the cliff. Didn’t you know how bloodthirsty I was, the way my mouth hung open over every gaping wound, my...