Spring 2024

Born and Alive to each Other

by Emily Shearer

“Don’t bother me, I have just been born.”
—Mary Oliver

                                I plan to stop for no one.
                                I have a life to go and follow.
                                               Some resolve.

                                For then I meet you
                                again and again.
                                Sometimes waiting,
                                Sometimes running through the meadow
And I lay
                                my satchels full of snakes and candy
                                gum drops, books and aches and maps
                                to distant whistle-stops, their train songs which haunt/lull/guide
me                           through the landmines of this life,

at my feet

                                in the long grass and
                                take your hand, cracked for the toil,
                                in one of mine,
                                your bristly jaw in the other
and I don’t know yet
what we’ll say
                                to each other
                                or maybe the silence
                                between us
                                will fill the moment of rebirth
                                that happens each time
                                we find each other
                                like this
                                covered in vernix
                                borne and alive
to the other,
                                two infants in a field, two travelers,
                                two dance hall boot-scooters looking for a cold beer
                                and a bed to put our boots under.

Not a bother.
No bother.

                                I’ll go on being born.
We’ll go on
                                sharing our lanterns, our loads,
                                our umbrellas.


Dear Hands,
When I think of what you do that goes unnoticed,
diaper-changing comes to mind, seed-sowing and also

arson. Lighting a match and dropping it fast,
setting fire and running towards disaster.

You stir

Trouble and soup. You distill oils,
shore up pantries and cellars of canned beans
next to bricks and bombs. I’ve seen you crumple instructions,
trash and fish them out again,
smooth their creases as cotton sheets. Where you make my bed, I lie in it.
Where you unfurl curls of words, weave webs of wherewithals,
I leap.

You appear as a net.

You conjugate the wind, you conjure mistakes
from perfect ribbons—typewriter, grosgrain, Christmas.
Flight derives itself from your feathers. Entire canons are composed
when you uncage canaries. You’re a syndicate
for choir directors everywhere; on your go signal,
little children sing their nervous melodies. You sweeten the tea of strangers
as well as you drop mercury in the baptismal font.

In the morning, you shape dough into bread. In the evening, you give it away
to the birds in the front yard
when hungry men are lining up at the back door.
Where you lift or fold in prayer, I dodge the veil, fold my breathing body
to form a shelter for all the tented blessings you’ve bestowed. You lift or mudra
secrets, covetousness, the stigmata of a messianic complex,
a pyromania beyond your control. I should thank you,
a round of applause, a high-fiving yourself, for dousing out water,
when we all know it was you who lit the flame.

Emily Shearer is an ex-pat poet and yoga/French/writing teacher outside Houston, TX.  She’s a fried-chicken-biscuit and a flute of Prosecco, followed by a barefoot boogie-woogie hallelujah with a dash of piss,  vinegar and moody blues. Her poems have been twice nominated for a Pushcart and the Best of the Web, shortlisted for the McCabe Poetry Prize, University of Houston Robertson Prize and Orison Anthology prize and published in Silk Road Review (forthcoming), Please See Me, jellybucket, The Poeming Pigeon Sports Edition, Fiolet & Wing, emry’s journal online, psaltery & lyreWest Texas Literary Review, Clockhouse, and Ruminate, among others. She has conversed with Viennese ghosts, photographed Mexican iguanas and wild horses in their native habitats, witnessed reincarnation and written about it all. You can find her on the beaches of North Carolina, the hilltops of Prague, the sidewalk cafes of any French-speaking country or on the web at bohemilywrites.net.

Spring 2024