Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Poetry Pop Up: Marianne Szlyk

The Jazz Harpist Lies Sleepless

At night in another strange bed
tiger-striped with streetlights
and shadows of venetian blinds,
the jazz harpist wills herself
to sleep.

Her husband sprawled beside her
is dead to the world.
She is alive to it:
the itch of wool blankets,
the whisper of a pink
nylon nightgown
over her thighs,
her place on the edge
of a full-sized bed,
the traffic like Pacific surf
outside her window,
the music she cannot
write down at night.

She imagines rising
to tidy up the room.
Her husband will wake
to a clear path
if only in this place.
She will not touch
the harp

that always
travels with them
like an awkward, half-grown child
looming over his parents,
the only child they will ever have.

She shuts her eyes
to this bedroom
and to her harp
that emerges in darkness.
She hushes her crashing thoughts
from the hours
most women her age
do not keep.

The music
and the darkness

and she falls

into a dream
of willing herself
to stay awake

as her husband drives
her and their human child.

In her dream, she strokes
her little girl’s hair,
and plays
The Look of Love,
as they travel home
long before midnight.

BIO: Marianne Szlyk is a professor at Montgomery College and the editor of The Song Is... Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, was published by Flutter Press, and her first, Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking Up at Trees of Heaven, is available online at Kind of a Hurricane Press.   Recently she was artist in residence at The Wild Word.  Other poems have appeared at Cacti Fur, bird's thumb, of/with, The Ekphrastic Review, Solidago, Figroot Press, and other print & online venues.  She encourages you to send work to her magazine. For more information about it, see this link: 

No comments:

Post a Comment