Bart Everson CC
a truncated sestina
cleansed at last of burial ash
you return to tell of angels falling from the sky
the fire where you lost yourself as day turned to night
in brittle madness
streets brushed with unspeakable dust clouds embers
burning the city silent
how your subway car suddenly shuddered silent
the ground above heaving as towers fell to ash.
trapped below, none of you knew. only embers
of wild confusion igniting distrust. even there, with no sky
you tasted the coming madness
humanity’s dark night.
you helped a pregnant woman to the street like night
joined the tide of muffled footsteps, silent
exodus across the bridge toward what? this madness
knows no borders. eyes burning with tears and ash
you walked blind 9am daylight wiped clean from the sky
dawn of a new era hissing like embers.
back turned on a vision once sought, embers
of love swath the night
like neon in the sky
rain down in silent
questions: what was true, what was ash.
on the third anniversary of 9/11
a tart wash of sun streams through the double paned glass
summer’s inconsolable push
like a child’s desire. a pat a hush not nearly enough
to quell fear want.
empty echo early morning reverie.
‘neath a rising tide of silence scratch of pen to paper:
commiseration of ink and sweat about the cost of a single step.
these vain attempts to dress wounded hours
expose the frailty of language
while regret eats through the day like acid.
this acrid spell burden of expectation scraped raw
each bend stretch a reminder
simple poetry of sinew and tendon
lost to the confused grip of past and present
the innate way fate twists meaning.
what’s unwritten has different value lessons
embedded in cells like rings within mighty redwoods
hidden save for the cut of the logger’s saw
— but who could translate wood to paper
strength to vulnerability
it’s all a foreign language now
*body language first appeared in the 2008 Magee Park Poets Anthology, published by the Carlsbad City Library.
Originally from Southern California, Cheryl Latif emigrated to the Pacific Northwest in 2001 to live under a sky that speaks several languages. Her poetry was first published in Between Sheets, a Cal State Stanislaus literary magazine (1978). She didn’t submit again for some time. Now her work has appeared in a variety of local, regional and national publications such as New Millennium Writings, The Comstock Review, Spillway, How Luminous the Wildflowers, Magee Park Poets and more.
While in San Diego, she curated/hosted a weekly poetry series in San Diego that featured poets from across the nation and across the pond.
A copywriter by trade, she relishes fooling with words.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.