Neutral

 

Right after I decided I didnÕt want to

be found dead in my dorm room,

I took a walk around campus.

 

The January wind corkscrewed

around my ankles as I walked through

trenches of white moss

 

it occurred to me

it was cold enough for one to

freeze to death if I simply waited

 

for my breath and the wind to become the same.

The idea melted;

IÕve never been patient

 

enough to let myself

do anything slowly.

But let me start over.

 

When my dad offered to teach

me to drive the manual transmission

of a cherry-red sedan,

 

that wouldÕve been mine for the cost

of every movie theater popcorn bag

IÕd filled at age 15

 

I, instead, backed in to

a plaster-white automatic alternative

so I wouldnÕt have to relearn

 

that piece of freedom before I could use it.

Ease over effort; because I was

afraid of being outwitted by something

 

more mechanical than me;

something more built for control.

But let me start over.

 

I was in-between breakdowns

when I parked that car on the

state-line bridge

 

and wondered if my

first and last kiss

should be for the river below.

 

The night rolled its eyes

as though it knew of the time

I wrote Òfuck youÓ on 23 corners

 

of the churchÕs song book

not because I donÕt believe in God;

I needed to know how far

 

I would have to go

to get His attention

like a psycho ex-girlfriend

 

setting a bonfire to his car

for me to stay warm while I debate

if IÕm too close to the edge of the

 

guard rail or not close enough.

I couldnÕt stop exhaling

the fog of exhaust; still idling.

 

The river yawned and stretched

in inclination, a brow raised in response to my challenge,

Ògive me the reason it should be you.Ó

 

While behind us my carÕs engine

called over the dark,

 

the ignition still running.

 

 

 

Sunflower Nonsense

 

Those stalks of strength

Tall fields of wanting

Faces turned towards their God

as if to mimic her

while sunbeams grow from

cotton petals

I see them,

their awkward limbs

yearning to follow while a single

cloud can blind them

Van GoghÕs anguish in oil pastel

Necks bowed in prayer for

the lost deity

There are days I turn my back on

this sunflower nonsense

Chasing a mischievous force

whose light shines elsewhere to say

ÒThis today, is not for you.Ó

 

 

 

Ode to the Reader

 

All words are stolen.

That is the threat of language.

Yet, all I want is to give you

the first words

 

The words that belong to only you

to tuck behind your ears

and spread along your footprints

to make tracks within your soul

 

I want you to know your beauty

is more than a metaphor

simply from the way you speak

because yes,

 

there is honey on your lips

from every gentle, wild,

stringy vowel youÕve let slip

 

Where consonants sound

like constellations

for me to ladle stardust

and drip that silver broth

along your tongue

 

For how can you be both sky

and earth and every element

grounded into the lines of

of my wispy writings?

 

You are so much more

than what I can gift you

that hasnÕt already been spoken

 

That I would commit theft

to hear you howl

rather than make love to silence

is a merciful violence.

 

There is nothing and everything

to describe this.

The largest word ever uttered.

A hummingbirdÕs stamina.

 

 

A body in the grass

motionless in the afternoon heat

I woke to my bare arm

with indents of pressed blades

in my skin

a pattern of

ornate, bleached lace

running up my wrist

Standing,

that crushed patch

of earth wears my body

like a birthmark

A crime scene

A bullet-reminder that

just for a moment,

existence happened here.

 

© Emily Jukich

 

Bio:  "A word chaser who made my love of language official by getting my BFA in Creative Writing in 2016. I received the Lange Poetry award from Concordia University and have continued to pursue my love of art and creation outside of my daily work."