Sunday, May 13, 2018

Three Poems by Marianne Szlyk

Variation on Chapman Road

        After photograph by Northscapes Photography, Presque Isle, ME

Cirrus fissures the November sky,
mirroring the ice cracks found
in the almost-frozen pond.

The photographer blows on his hands
and tugs on his gloves
as the last orange light dissolves.

He counts the days
until first snowfall, first flakes
like stars falling from above.

But stars are harder, colder.
They are a code
for him to puzzle through.

Snow is not a puzzle.
It covers the ground.
Like the sun, it dazzles his eyes.

Behind him the moon is rising.
Behind him clouds glaze
over the stars.

Tomorrow the snow will fall.

Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake, 1994

Gnats rise from the beach; the water
is too far for her to touch.

She stands on damp sand,
looking out to barren mountains, skulls

that will become islands
when the water is within reach,

when it splashes tourists' shoes,
stings their fingers, corrodes the rocks.

Now water withholds itself,
folding into the mountains' shadow.

She sees no boats, no cars.
Only gnats rise from the beach.

No salt tide brings seaweed.
No smooth stones or glass surface.

She turns around to fly home
to July's heatwave, to beach roses

that reaches out, pursuing
her past the rim of rocks.

At home
only humans withdraw.

Following the Moon

During our last bus ride
of the evening, heading east
towards home, the moon rises
alone in the puffy sky.

The moon is a pearl
button on an angora sweater,
an actress in front of
the heavy curtain on stage,
the spotlight trained on her,
a white cat peeking out
from the dark.

We've heard rumors of stars,
but they are elsewhere, further
north, further west.  The moon
is here with us tonight.

It follows us home.  It sees us
inside.  It keeps watch
until dawn.

Marianne Szlyk is a professor of English and Reading at Montgomery College.  She also edits The Song Is . . . a blog-zine for poetry and prose inspired by music (especially jazz).  Her first chapbook, Listen to Electric Cambodia, Looking up at Trees of Heaven, is available online at Kind of a Hurricane Press.  Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, is available on Amazon.  Her poems have appeared in Jellyfish Whispers, of/with, bird's thumb, Cactifur, Mad Swirl, Solidago, Red Bird Chapbook's Weekly Read, and Resurrection of a Sunflower, an anthology of work responding to Vincent Van Gogh's art.  Her third book may be coming out soon.


  1. Marianne Szlyk has the power to amaze with fresh observations of the world around us.Congratulations!
    love and light,angelee(India)

  2. Marianne, these these poems have a spark and are most enjoyable to read. Congratulations.

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