The Coldest Hour The mountains, the mountains set adrift on a tundra of pickled grass Springing up like nubby hairs on that of a newborn's scalp I haven't taken the time to learn a second language Though the sun burns through the window onto my hair and I can almost smell it burning To know every word inside and out like my favorite song on the café radio at the moment of the day when light slips into its cremation and becomes a dusting around office buildings and parked cars I hold my bag tightly to my side the layers of clothes I have on makes it hard to concentrate, but someone told me that distraction is actually a good thing. When I reach home, I empty the stale coffee I purchased some at the café The mountains knew this before you. What is useless if laid untouched? Is something deemed useless when it becomes nothing of what made it begin? The stems tie around my fingers as if I'm knitting filaments of the earth, taken from their mother They send me dreams to shame me. I place them in a vase and set it on my kitchen table, watching as they wait for dinner like me Saucers surrounding them Does it appear as a mini apocalypse? The way things dirty, how the doorbell rings when I am not done cooking. The lightning bakes its pastry town It falls, not as dominoes but as birds caught in a grenade. The man comes each day to read his history books My degree stains in the sun The way my hair burned out of necessity. Sunday a corpse sleeps in bed and thinks the flies around its rotting Melon are stars leaning down to touch what little wisps of hair still root in its pores, feeding off dead soil and an ocean of gauze wrapping its ligaments, but if I could pluck it from the coast and turn it in my palm like a fossilized shell, Does it still dream? and if it does, are the corners of that dream dressed with Moth balls - where in the back of it’s throat a vault of memories Croak like a toad’s last wish, to elongate its tongue Outward to capture and consume those flies carouseling around that rotting melon? Nestle there is a captain for everything boat wood drifting over ripples in the rays of the night sun each thorn of the rose spindling out like centipede legs in a garden that's kept quiet by pesticides the leaves are green right now bounded into the doughy earth and served, circular cookies for later windows mop in watery light and I awake to the frustration that each day we must search for land gills growing hungry and breath frozen to be a solid thing that tastes us each second Take It Back A 2pm train drizzled down a drain, where little bodies sit and stand and blame On it, got a woman, double my age A purple pocketbook and peeling lipstick If someone asked, she'd say "I've had a day" - not wrapped so evenly but still a present all the same And a car ran past a brownstone in Tribeca Little bodies drinking coffee Watching news to and fro A man hailed the taxi and it spit up water "Watch it" and the foam grew around his mouth Becoming his beer from last night, huh? But he still got in and paid and tipped A stroller walked down a sidewalk in a suburb No mother, a nanny, tickling the child the way it should And she stops at traffic lights and never cuts in line - takes her dog inside when it barks at night All little bodies Falling into place On an escalator up to death without a halted pace No point in trying to seize the time it takes To live as if you'll not do so tomorrow But no Shall not be greedy So which is it, Where to go?
Zoey Collea is a Junior at Bard College where she studies Creative Writing and Law. She self-published her first book at eighteen and is currently writing another one, in addition to her poetry. She hopes to become a successful author and get her MFA upon graduation.
That was a trip through imagery and language that conjured up intuitive knowing.
Thanks for reading, Lisa! We’re excited to feature an up-and-coming student poet.
Great job there. What beautiful imagery!