For Voices 

And can't I say he crushed my bones
all the way through skin
                         elastic veins
forget the tendons, ligaments  Can't I speak
my heart split on lines
never divided left from right, ventricles from atria?
No you cannot  security risk
                             infectious risk
  hold your body & your blood
inside that splitting skin
                           through the scent of burning hair
               Keep vibrations in the air
held back by your broken teeth

                                 Is this the way to change the world?

This is how we save

Last Witness
Forget the war
Forget his force in you since
anyway your shock
                  stopped memory from sealing
                 the feeling but
                                 ground beneath
                          the war
                  they say
for your own sake, forget
                          that gutters blushed
                          You did not think they blushed
when you smelled strange-familiar metal in the streets
                                         and the barren market
They say forget
the war if you want peace
                                 brother's scream, crunch of sister's bone
                                  (are neighbors so important?)
                   Forget the war
for peace, Forget

Maidenhair Library Lane
                    every time you shift shade
            I change ways
                           left to gather
               more of you
                             at least in my eyes
when you turn yellow
                              how sun-moon gleams through
                  or even just lamps
                                     holding nose against
                               sour-seed  fallen-milk  scent
when you turn gold
                    give up enough
I want to take you in my hands
when you return
you're green
             and I'm just glad
            it's warm again  your skin
                hold no scars from this shift

To Fallen Leaves
     been sewing your teeth to my bones
My bones are seams that keep me warm
        but you fed me such short hairs
        (and all I saw was yours
seams now let the rain in me
                             under wind
          preparing to freeze
crystals against
                 whatever heat you've left

© Elizabeth Kate Switaj

Bio: She teaches English at Shengda College of Zhengzhou University in China's Henan Province. Her collection of poems, How To Drink a Floral Moon, is forthcoming from Blue Lion Books; her chapbook, The Broken Sanctuary: Nature Poems, is available from Ypolita Press. She edits Crossing Rivers Into Twilight (