Silence is the seed to grow my desire–silence and luck.
A large body of water shares clear clean glaze whispers
hydrogen bonding; its difficulty is holding stillness; that’s not
the fate God gave it. Lake Michigan’s azure nudity faces
forward, echoes difference and distances, says Eden.

Good morning, America. Good Morning America called
The Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Most Beautiful Place in
America. Toward the top, a breeze, hurting of milkweed,
promises life after death. At apex, the landscape bursts
blue like a Black Southern woman shreds into tears.
I hear you suck teeth and curl Brooklyn snarl: You lie
like a dog. Man, I wouldn’t do you like that.

Only lie-strung hyperbole twins absolute truth about blue sky
kissing belly of smooth lake hinting at forever—exactly
what Miles Davis meant by great and grand. Who am I
to argue the heart’s fatback thunder like Art Blakey rolled
Lee Morgan?

A frail woman places diamond over dust against warning
of falling rocks, or arduous journey back, to descend the gold
slope of sand—desire’s end in rare pause and beauty’s bite.

In the distant midst of turquoise impossibility,
a small white triangle was shouting something in Italian.
I answered that sail, Mi dispiace! I do not speak your language!
At that point, I regretted not knowing how to gnash teeth or why
the g is silent.

Years after, during a solo sail on Lake Champlain
a port tack wind unfurled the mystery from Lake Michigan.
I come from the future! (I’d shouted in Spanish-accented Italian.)

Don’t let a present helplessness spoil any moment.
You learn to sail where coyotes howl to the loon’s canto,
and the flight of horned owl burns September
on silent wing. I know you don’t know
what I’m saying, but you will.

I’d envied the far white sail that afternoon (to the prick
of hatred like a knife in the neck); It hurt that someone else had
a silence of life as lapis and innocent as making love in a dream.

Drive a breeze. Act as propitiation between sail and wave.
Keep holy the love for silence where wissering water
slaps attention along your hull granting sweet fortune
of how the wind can heel you.

*heel is a sailing term to describe the leaning of the vessel



even though
you are almost certain
there is no one at the end
of the receiving line
you scrunch eyes
and whimper

a single breath of despairing
to whatever sieve can tongue it
hammer claw it
bowl cup hope
defines you

you journeyed deathmarch
through jungle belief … forgetting it
during monsoon season
your overturned conviction
in a father you always find
in the desert

staked as forsaken child
with your foot in a snare
lupine howls sing
into thunderation
fully grasping the paradox

because pain don’t care
what makes sense
ghost and alone
produce sad
animal scratching

even if the only response
that will or won’t
is the silent
coming up after the third light
fast on your left
on the corner
of saint this or that
of the holy order of here and there
of a kaleidoscope abyss
and what you name it.


let’s ring this crystal clear.
at the moment, i’m sitting on my ass
buffing my nails. not only do i not know
where you are, technically, we’ve never
met—though i know all about you.

even so (it occurred to me) rather than
facing the inevitability of our future
perhaps, where i was living was the fact
of our past, how we’ve already known
each other in biblical animal prying,
involving mutual nudity, exchanges
of trust fluid, maybe the gifting
of things expensive or not. You shouldn’t
have! i’ll say, or you’ve already
said. we’ll have leaped over
the creaky bridge of I Want You, then
leapt back into the separate
no love survives. i’ll return your book
at midnight. you’ll miss the way
not much could get me down. to that
we add all the things we’re gladly rid of.

at the last moment, i’m wanting to hear
you cry—probe your scars with tongue
caliper, map what is salt what is sweet.
understand, i’m sitting on my ass
like zero on a number line moving
positive, negative, positive, negative
just as rational and real as all that.





stephanie roberts is a previous contributor to Burning House Press. Her work has also been featured in other cool places including Verse Daily, FLAPPERHOUSE, Arcturus, Occulum, The /tƐmz/ Review, and The Stockholm Review of Literature. Born in Central America, she now dreams of a love based society from a wee town just outside of Montréal. Twitter shenanigans @ringtales.