Tell me what you know about salt,
how speech can be a kind of thirst.
I could swear that once I heard my name
as rain caught the fingers of pine trees,
that I heard tide whisper into shoreline,
I am. I am.
Tell me, is it holy to speak,
so much fluid in the lungs?
That when I listen long enough
I hear a voice underwater, feel
the Dead Sea pooling in my throat?
All Their Elegies
If I remember the sound their voices made it’s because my dreaming cut the night in half. If I haven’t talked much about quiet it’s to keep things quiet. Instead, there are other questions I’d rather ask the dead. Translations of my dreams: pistols in bloom, choir of streetlamps, the darkness where the ocean meets the night; where will we put our broken teeth after so much awful sleep; have you ever touched a shadow without casting another shadow?
Bryce Emley's poetry and prose can be found in Boston Review, Best American Experimental Writing 2015, Prairie Schooner, Harvard Review, and more, and he serves as Poetry Editor of Raleigh Review.