Emma Bolden


Ruben Cukier, Woman with Clouds
Ruben Cukier

Melancholy Inside Gardens

This sadness doesn’t curl inside the fact
that the blossoms will die so much
as the fact that they have blossomed, and here,

in spring honey-hot, sifting pollen into
the opened bowls of such yellows. Into
the center where sweetness is held

they gather a landscape of blurs. This sadness
isn’t what we’re allowed, which is to see
in glimpses only, but that we are allowed to see

any of an all. The hummingbird thrum
of wing. Sun and its punishments of light. Sky
and its freezing, impenetrable as blue.

Pray

I Was a Bad Child and I Was a Match 

And then the brute interruption of spirit. 
Desire and fire licked the walls clean. 

There were words and they kept offering
themselves. There were, of course, ways to say. 

I told myself to feel and then I felt a little like
feeling. I had stowed myself so carefully far

in some compartment hinged of muscle, doored
of bone. I knew all beginnings were subtle.

The choice I made was not a choice. I told myself
any beauty is home. The convex blush

of impatiens. Stole, mink, and fur. Hair
ribbon and velvet, sherbet, lace, I

told myself any end is a beauty. I told
myself. There’s world and word in ash.

Sacred

Melancholy Inside Cockpits

Though the newsrooms say we should consider
the control room unoccupied, the captain
isn’t calling. He quits. He is totally over

the loudspeaker. He is playing
a harmonica. He is wearing his new yellow
sweater. The bronze wings he pinned

there flew away and took the tiny
alligator with them. Reporters ask summer
about the nests it wears as earrings. 

Reporters ask winter, Why all the ice?
The captain whispers an avalanche.
The captain holds his hands

between the blades of a fan. He’s boiling
an octopus with an eraser. He’s a protest against
the latest inoculations. He is an organization

of force. Reporters ask, More light? The captain
hears lime. He hears the peel and not the seeds.
He hears the landscape like he hears his own teeth.

Bioconstruction

We Are Going To Have This Conversation.

It starts with speaking. Pay attention.
Yes, there are teeth tucked into these bones.

I am going to say We have to talk. Then we will
talk until one of us says Well what else do you have

to say. I’ll push air around in the room

of my mouth. This will make one of the following

sounds: until then, without, facetious, design.
This would be a good time to use

your hands as napkins.  This would be
a good time to turn your feet into swans.

Emma_Bolden_HeadshotEmma Bolden is the author of Maleficae, a book-length series of poems about the witch trials in early modern Europe (GenPop Books, 2013), and medi(t)ations, a book-length poem forthcoming from Noctuary Press. She’s also the author of four chapbooks of poetry — How to Recognize a Lady  (part of Edge by Edge, Toadlily Press); The Mariner’s Wife (Finishing Line Press); The Sad Epistles (Dancing Girl Press); and This Is Our Hollywood (in The Chapbook) – and one of nonfiction – Geography V (Winged City Press).  Her work has appeared in such journals as The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, Conduit, the Indiana Review, Harpur Palate, the Greensboro Review, Redivider, Verse, Feminist Studies, The Journal, Guernica, and Copper Nickel.  She was the winner of the 2014 Barthelme Prize for Short Prose from Gulf Coast Magazine, the Spoon River Poetry Review’s 2014 Editor’s Prize Contest, and the Press 53/Prime Number Magazine 2014 Award for Flash Nonfiction. Her work was chosen for inclusion in Best Small Fictions 2015 and Best American Poetry 2015

Emma Bolden’s Website

Emma Bolden at GenPop Books

Emma Bolden at Best American Poetry (book preview and interview)

Emma Bolden at Argus House Press

Emma Bolden at The Rumpus