Elements / Weathering Loss

Poetry Mar 23, 2021

by Emily Bowles


For Mike Seybert


You left behind a wake of words

like water running

away with your meaning—


a wake of words by those left

like Bishop’s keys or

Oliver’s geese circling


in your wake, the words betraying

not so much of you

as we wanted, wondered.


How your words awake in us a

wake of words, leaving

your meaning, migratory. 



If I Fall on Your Trail


I wrote my name on my shoe

for you—or because

of you, that becausing

a becoming, not a pair,

not a man I knew you knew

anew, a new aloneing

this loss without finding:

I am afraid for you

I am afraid like you

of unknownness (no, you—)






Everything I touch turns to you

as if in flowering a witchweed

which                                                  we

do not know how to grow


do not know how to grow

morning glories weeping willows

such anthropomorphizing seedings

ceding                                                 re-

ceding.  What I mean is,


everything I touch turns into you


witchery when I realize

(I used to believe)

everything I touched,

I made             made me        



make each other without

knowing which flowers turn

to you, away from me—turn

into outto onto


a sun moon whitening,

a moon sun brightening


a withered face, lines unbending








A mermaid flying frightens



toward failure

of magic, flighteningly freeing


water unfit for sirensinging, so she

gasps for breath. 

Water unfit for breathing, a lung

filling with the wrong elements,


and fins feathering,

into the squawkings

of a seagull shatterbird,

shatterborn, shatterburn

star star star


scar scar scar

from a sharp shard

this shadowburdening

shadowburn shadowburden shadowbird

stranded in a whether unfit—weather,

for a birden, seegull, sea.