Another Sad Sack of a Spring

I’ve been trying. I told you.
Pack up your storms & go. & still
you scatter your showers, you hail

your reign, thundered up
into a brightness, you

stretch roots beneath the dream
where my teeth are piano keys &
yes it’s true that a memory

is a forever in the same way
that a forever is a forever. Why

are you always a silver
waiting on the edge of

the mirror, a pill I count &
a pill I count out of my
own curiosity over whether

I have had enough. Even
the bushes have thrown

off their flower, their beauties,
their precious poison. I wish there were
a way to remember to forget

the very idea of sweetness, the teeth
time clenches when a love leaves.


Emma Bolden

Pronouns: She/Her

3 Poems

Another Sad Sack Of A Spring

Fever / Dream

To My Younger Self


Fever / Dream

I tried to live in the lacks   /   in what I had no words
for what I lacked was wanting   /   was it wanting was it
wet with the screech of heat   /   a leaf unpeeling itself from
the tree I suffered trying to be   /   straight & straightened
hair fingers teething   /   the story I was taught should be
the story I teach  /   myself moon night midlit the fuzz
of a bunker angry with alarm   /   the dream of a mother fathered
by a feathered impossibility   /   a swamp seething to wave
its slow wonder at the edges   /  of every ancient rumor
of a beast that speaks its fire   /   becomes the whole story lit
by the spokes of a wheel   /   each species rides into & out
of the water ambulatory   /  as any emergency racing righteous
& glory towards the spark of   /   that first start I wanted to stop
myself up in language I wanted   /   to find the way to say
none of this has been mine   /   aimless & ambulatory
none of this watered treed rooted   /   fleshlocked to a spine
that wavered was it wet   /   that bent each stem from straight was I
mother father alleluia a herald   /   come undone from on high I
knew mercy was a kind of judgement   /   come quick on feet cut
from their walking was wanting   /   the tree from which the first apple
fell & so why am I waiting   /   am I wishing myself
into an absence I have no desire   /   to be claimed or to name

To My Younger Self

Live lit. Love like a loch
that rises to let in all

ships. When the tide says
stop, listen. Don’t listen.

Let blood flood you. Become
full. A heart. Fuse feeling

to your body like a second
flesh. You are better

then bitter. Be grateful,
girl. To be fragile to the bone.

Feel the thrum of some undefined
desire swell, cello sore. When

you swear you’re breaking,
break. Flower into flame.

Emma Bolden (she/her) is the author of House Is an Enigma (Southeast Missouri State University Press), medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press), and Maleficae (GenPop Books). The recipient of an NEA Fellowship, her work has appeared in The Norton Introduction to Literature, The Best American Poetry, The Best Small Fictions, and such journals as the Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, New Madrid, TriQuarterly, Shenandoah, and the Greensboro Review. She currently serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief for Tupelo Quarterly.

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