Sunday, April 8, 2018

Silent Retreat by Emily Strauss

A silent retreat— though some folks
can't resist writing notes all over the board—
'meet at 8 AM for a walk'
'the keishe was great-- try some'

or mouth whole conversations
to their friends, or even ask aloud—
'where do you find mugs?'
I try to scowl, need more practice

don't want to speak, nor even see
another person, nor hear a chair
dragged across a floor, or catch
a light on at night unless it's miles
away down the canyon or across a wide
valley, a far twinkling of a populated
land, a ship passing in the strait

silent retreat— air, birds, surf, bees,
especially the jays— calling, crying,
complaining, stealing whole figs
off the fence, begging, fighting
the only distraction but for sunset
when sometimes the sky turns
pink-orange-yellow over the sea
a solitary feast for a solitary day.

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Over 400 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. She is a Best of the Net and twice a Pushcart nominee. The natural world of the American West is generally her framework; she also considers the narratives of people and places around her. She is a retired teacher living in Oregon.

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