Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Four Poems, by Elizabeth Switaj.




Evening Run in Summer Hum

  cricket pulls trees together with leg
harps and sycamore knots lose leaves
                               making tea of mud  by rain

                              cicada membranes push
        lower clicks to buzz & trees
                                      back together

 giving this sidewalk perspective
in war's across the continent


To A Savior

so many women not drowning  not rising
      legs limp closed or apart 

  hair well-weeded as mine
   around me  I thought
                      was how they embraced me
                      with arms too tired to swim
                 kissed fingers where skin sloughed off

and then they told me not to kick
     you can't fight tar & quicksand

                                        or it isn't killing yet
 Same water I threw up on you
                   was filling our lungs

                      whether we were born or pushed
                     or followed love words there

                      what held us silenced us
                                Forgive me

for pushing you down when I struggled up
along your shaking arms

                        Those still women  would never threaten you


Sky Built

    clouds have turned sky into mortar
blue holding bricks    bleached rain

                     in gases to confirm
       it's safe to come out

and jog around the lake
where boys sit on benches

                           of blackened cement
hold their girls stretched across

their laps & what remains
                          of pagodas they spent yesterday

                            painting red & intricate  They didn't believe
    rumors of war to ignite

                            mortar that holds clouds
  confirms the sun

                   Come out

                   Come out


Weeded Embrace

     It is not ivy
You can't tear it down
               I grew around its roots

                       as it folded leaves to press between
                my thick  cracked skin
      Changed from ivy
                       spread into my sap & heart

                         You think you can cure me
since it cannot live without me
                               and I'll only be left nude

                               and bleed a little amber
                      for you
 It is not ivy
Let it grow
             Only when it covers me we'll know
             if it has changed enough
                                      to let me breathe & tan dark green


Elizabeth Kate Switaj teaches English at Shengda College in China's Henan Province. Her full-length book of poetry, How to Drink a Floral Moon, is forthcoming from Blue Lion Books, while her chapbook, The Broken Sanctuary: Nature Poems, is currently available from Ypolita Press. She edits Crossing Rivers Into Twilight.


Comments? Tell us!

Back to Offcourse home page