My father whistles to Dylan records
like a lark in harmony with a river’s babble,
chorus hanging like hands balancing
atop the water’s rippled skin.
Poetic bard in paternal clothing,
melody carried like the sway
of a mother in her rocking,
though his hum is far more forgiving
than her effete feel.
“And what did you hear, my darling young one?”
“And what did you see, my darling young one?”
I have held my ear to the sod of this bed
and drenched my knees in its sinking mass.
I have listened to the grains of soil
nestling their filth beneath my fingernails.
My father is a song on repeat,
a river’s skipped pebbles, like tree rings,
scratching these surfaces smooth.
It is a voice I will not forget.
In the time of rose petals,
we gave in to the plucking
towards a slow drift.
The womb spilt secrets, sweet,
a honey jar follicle
foraged in fall.
Mama was the rib-
her haunted marrow, melting;
her igneous rocks, for carving;
her empty stems, in rows,
starving for affection,
left under floorboards
in abandoned homes.
Prone to digging
are widespread birds, unremarkable.
do not rise like chests in their living,
they are a cello’s moan,
They have fallen down wells
as buckets laid to rest like burdens,
warped from their soddening,
permanently matted with a morning’s byzantine feel.
have never been enough.
They have always been as brown as death’s true door
and just as prone to your digging.
Stories left on subway walls
There is marrow in the bones of these steel rails.
Trains run along like bow to cello,
their hum just as profound.
12am becomes 1am. becomes 2.
There is significance lacing the steam
rising in these tunnels,
and it is timeless.
Echoes etch the tiled subway walls
donned in spray-paint operas of unrequited conversation,
black ink smeared with indignation murmurs:
“I love you diane”
like lamplight hissing its low burn,
like silence filled lungs deflating their hush,
as we read her name in passing.
It is left to linger.
It sits like crumpled paper
ripe for the picking on a ghost town platform,
stagnant as the underground air on our stained-glass tongues,
and just as hallowed.
2am becomes 3am becomes 4.
There is unconditional love grafted in this graffiti
wafting an arid aria of her existence,
timeless as this subway’s pews,
and as 4am becomes 5am becomes sunrise,
I can’t help but hope, she loved them back.
Sarah Maria is a 35 year old, LGBTQ+ poet based out of the greater Philadelphia region. She has been writing poetry since the age of 8, seriously since 18 and is currently working on her first, full collection. Her inspirations range from Emily Dickinson & Sonia Sanchez to Joni Mitchell & Fiona Apple.