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Six Poems by Marisa Siegel

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

Emily & the world

Tedious summer sun

refuses setting,

keeps time —

makes mind

of buzzy bees.

There was bird,

then there wasn’t.

Bird bring night,

plead —

wingspan measured


Let bird free only

to know it never was


Bird is neck, collared

promise —

hand held out

until it can’t.

& how to account

for the bird who’ll sing

after the moon rises?

Dear Emily,

The church next door

has left its chapel light

on for days —

how the slant of light

in October draws sharp

breath, heat

rising across an afternoon

even as sun sinks

into lake.

Like asking water

not to quell thirst.

Like dressing down

a god for its power.

Kindred anger pried

from deep reserves —

glance of spirit

refracted, deflected

through no fault

of its own.

Dear Emily,

A performance

of such magnitude

the bashful bird

was bowled over.

Empty gratitude

isn’t an answer.

Phantom ligament

or alkaline ache;

cut open once,

twice, becoming

jagged map

directing Nobody.

Violent overwhelm

washes the path

in yellows & blues.

She was saturated,

set the mettle aside

& attempted quiet.

Longhand calculation

is imprecise in scope

& inelegant.

Grief dawns slow

on the autumn lawn

& there are many

leaves to pile.

Dear Emily,

I deserve

your reply.

The page

is silent.

Little ember

amid dust.

Steady burn


I deserve




But Emily —

Where is


groaning Sisyphus

pushing blame

uphill —


as prayer

in no hurry.

We eke out


We break

breath, spill


scrape the best

bits of ourself,


But Emily —

The shore is

walking away.

I build a lighthouse,

dazzle at night,

blaze through dreams.

& if the clear known road

winds sharp,

fly here to me.

Marisa Siegel holds an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Her essay "Inherited Anger" appears in the acclaimed anthology BURN IT DOWN (Seal Press, 2019) and her poetry chapbook FIXED STARS is out now from Burrow Press. Find her online at

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