Harvest, poetry by Elaine Nadal at Spillwords.com



written by: Elaine Nadal


When you’re starving, you eat whatever is given to you.
It has a slightly odd taste, but it becomes normal.
In the belly of the whale, there aren’t many possibilities.
You can’t believe you got there, but the screech owl
stirs the memories:
Mother being pushed downstairs,
Cousin saying, “I ain’t photogenic,”
my classmate shoving me against the wall,
my ex-boyfriend slamming me against the bed.
Paycheck to paycheck.
Then a new job and more stress–
diagnosed with a sickness of aches in the joints.
I don’t look sickly, I’m told,
yet I’m here in this belly,
wanting to get out,
but I can’t swim and the screech owl
mocks me with pomegranate seeds.
Because when you’re starving, you eat what is given to you.
And when you no longer hunger, your spirit is dead:
No melody. No cadence. No cloudberries.
You’re continuously falling,
falling, falling, falling,
without ever hitting the ground, and
your senses melt like the clocks in Dali’s painting.

I need a bleeding heart for courage grown cold
and passion gone astray.
A blazing star for dancing barefoot, baring fruit
in a flowy dress, green and gold.
But my closet is cramped
with heaviness I must discard
before I can head towards Spring.
The screech owl will wait for me on the mountain.
I will descend once again. This time, though, I’ll become fire
out of those pomegranate seeds and show
the screech owl that I need no chariot
and that I, too, am a bird with wings.

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