ItÕs just a tail

To my grandmother


I brought you the tail of a fish,

no longer splashing.

Promise youÕll look at it,

listen to it

and stop seeing the ends

of things--

itÕs just a tail.


I want you to come to me

with the opal fish in your hand

and tell me

all it said

about porpoises, shells

and snails and other fish

just like it.


I should have brought you a shell, too--

that, I tried

and held to it for a while,

but it was a crabÕs carcass

and I dropped it with a shiver

when I realized.

Or maybe it was just its shell,

complete with spots for eyes

and IÕm seeing life in bits

of nacre and limestone,

with its ends

and petrified slivers

that are never quite gone,

when thatÕs not what they are.

TheyÕre just shells,

not enough on their own,

but in themselves.

And you wrap one with your hand.


My morning song

6 o'clock. The hour when we break

the silence. I rustled

in the empty state of no sleep

and no waking

I lay in all night.

You rustled, too and your bed

creaked like a broken twig.

I listened for a while to the bird

next to my window

and I thought how much I like the way

birds rustle.


6 o'clock and then silence.

I turned my head to check

if it was just the pressure in my ears

and waited

in the empty state of silent waking.

Maybe 6 o'clock was a lie.

There was no movement in your room

and I never even thought

it was because your room

was silent. You had no screech,

no mechanical blaring,

when I had the bird's song

again. But I had no sleep.

And I thought of all the hours

of silence I could have,

with the pressure in my ears

and in my forehead.


Then this came to me,

it rang in my mind

like the rustle of a page,

it sang about how we can have

our morning song, too.

I wonder if birds rush out their notes

for fear of losing them,

to get them just right.


The rush broke my silence.


I thought

this better be good

this better be worth it

right as I want it to be.




This better be as it happened

this better flow

and rustle

like a bird.




Its smell is distilled by distance:

a step stirs its silent blend,

a second stills its fermenting contents.


And as I quiet it

and stretch it

with each fresh breath I strain,

with each new scent I tried to trap

in my glass bottles,

I recapture it,

then lose it again

in new essence.


It's both elusive and instinctive,

this catnip-

it builds and preys on the world it exhales.

You were there

when it clang to the air

with every pulsating molecule

and I guess you were there

when its trail wisped around me


and all the million times I let it

and then didn't.


With quivering breath,

I draw it

and some of it doesn't escape,

just as part of me always distils

the old fragrances it slowly stirs.




Crumbs and peels were scraped on the table,

with harsh scratches of cuticuled cutlery;

crumbs that left no trail;

crusted shells beneath my palm

to make it itch;

shedded blisters,

pouches of entrails-

all empty.

They moved with the linen

as it sloped on my side

or yours;

they rolled over the shifting folds of your belly.

And as you folded your hands

and stretched them to the crumbling itch

- I hoped they wouldn't reach for the bald patch

in the middle of your head-,

the rashes of your elbows pointed at me,

spewing dusted skin.

They didn't bleed,

parched as they were,

as parched as we are.


And you go on chewing words...



Left to chance

IÕm silent

when you give me too much;

I can grow quiet

when I get an excuse.

I donÕt hear it

in droning

and I silence it

in chants.

ItÕs useless, there,

in dead intervals

and the times that call

for my hands-

already inaccurate,

thanks to its demands.

But it will keep on calling;

sometimes I will help it

and call it, myself.

The murmur remains

in silence,

vibrating in bone.

Its voice is left to chance.

© Laura-Bianca Pasca


Bio:  SheÕs about to embark on the harsh journey of adulthood this October, when sheÕll start studying Chemistry at Oxford University. Until then, sheÕll write, write, write- and then sheÕll combine science with writing, somehow