The Boiler

Emily Rose Cole

TOULOUSE (i)

After the burial—white ash, clay pot,
my tongue heavy as stone—I return
to this land whose language lacks
a word for home, this city

whose name I always
want to write
                         to lose.

In the park I watch the wind
crumple a small girl’s kite
under Pont Neuf’s center arch.

She wails.
                             The wind wails back

& I wish it would take me too,
pitch me up to join this carillon,
this terror of mourning.


TOULOUSE (ii)

I haven’t spoken in days.
In the courtyard, crows gather
dusk’s last light in their wings.
                                                        I lift my head—

they say the wind here cries
itself mad and I imagine a lost girl
grieving through the streets at night.

If I swallowed that wind,
would my tongue turn
to the clapper of a bell?
                                           Could I sing again?


AFTER THE FUNERAL, MANSFIELD, PENNSYLVANIA 

The moon spools over the semis,
broken string of stars wheeling above the gas wells
that belch back their shine like a buzzard’s black eye.

October, & slush crusts the gutted asphalt, ice squealing
in the treads of the trucks that huff down Main Street, all day,
all night, waste water trailing them.

Can anyone here sleep anymore? Is there any road left
that leads somewhere I love? At the window, I search
for anything living. There—autumn’s last bats dive
& scatter, their wings sawing down the sky.

___________________________

Emily Rose Cole is a writer and lyricist from Pennsylvania. She has received awards from Jabberwock Review, Ruminate Magazine, and the Academy of American Poets, and her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Nimrod, Spoon River Poetry Review, Yemassee, and Passages North, among others. She holds an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is currently a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati. You can reach her on Twitter via @EmilyColeWrites or via her website at emilyrosecolepoetry.com.