The colors tasted right at home
in my mouth, and the heat
floated radiant and rare, semiprecious amber,
fortunate jade; I felt fated, prophetic. I thought I’d write
about a girl who lived in a house of fern fronds
and ocean froth, humming an endless chorus
matching her voice to cicadas and seashore rushes,
keeping the beat of an egg
timer. Always in the margins, she holds her head in her hands,
wondering where to stick her pin, plot
her next story. All night she waits
for spring, traversing the Styx and bringing back crocus buds
wrapped in little tissue market bags, but the right season
never comes. She pulls off jewels and circles
them like signposts, words like mesmerize, oceanic,
fattoush and rune and prophecy, vehemently falling
in pieces like scales from a sea-starved fish,
ephemera meant to catch the light. What I know
is I’m trying to make sense of this. It means more to me
in this saltbox biscuit-steam hothouse
of a home state than a love letter.
The coastline’s ribcage, a gate. The Atlantic’s backbone, a bridge.
I drop my pen and gaze at the horizon, gather up my fingers and extend them:
Abhaya mudra- fearless approach. Coming into
this place like a skimmer panning for minnows,
I will throw back anything broken, anything that refuses
to heal, or is sourced in fear. I tell myself, if you are not fearless,
be a cultivar, selected from the wellspring, from the summer’s spectral hues.
Eat them all up, the sun-flushed rubies, the zinnia-persimmon-crimsons,
the greens especially, too tourmaline to swallow, too emerald to spit out.
Emily Shearer teaches yoga, French and writing outside Houston, TX. Her poems have been nominated twice for a Pushcart and for Best Emerging Poets 2018, shortlisted for the Judith B. McCabe Poetry Prize, awarded the University of Houston Robertson Prize (runner-up) and published in West Texas Literary Review, SWIMM, Clockhouse, and Ruminate, among others. She has conversed with Viennese ghosts, photographed Mexican iguanas and wild horses in their native habitats, witnessed reincarnation, spanned the breadth and depth of rivers-not-rivers and written about it all. You can find her in one of her favorite places — the beaches of North Carolina, the hilltops of Prague, the sidewalk cafes of any French-speaking country or on the web at bohemilywrites.net.