Angele Ellis


         Inspired by Alicia Lemne, "Blooming Sleep, with Turkey Tail," Pittsburgh Glass Center

Listen to the audio version.

Toby, they laid you in Penn Forest. A beautiful ceremony, your father said, white winding cloths unfurling like sails to dip you into scented earth. On everyday anniversaries, family visits the tree you feed with your body, doomed by a cracked chromosome to stop at ten, a small watch wearing down tick by tick.

Your skin has turned verdigris. Pennies of algae weight your closed eyes. A mossy birthmark spreads across your soft cheek. Three frills of Turkey Tail— trametes versicola— spring from your collarbone like military ribbons, decorations for the striped nights and days of your Hunter's Syndrome hospital stays.

You are the dream that may come in blooming sleep, supine bust of beauty returning to loam. The glass that sculpts you granulates like sugar at the edges. In time, it will drip liquid as if it were flesh, trickle like your laughter and your silence into a streambed of sand.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

My friend, nestling in her ears
beige beads of amplification,
hears me say solution instead
of illusion. Yes, love is the first
and wisdom may be the last.

No finality in sibilance—
for sound, like vision, exists only
in gaps mortared with meaning:
the un/familiar dislocated hand
grasping our shoulder in a old photo,
the translucent screen-like pool—

we see something swimming,
a selkie's head breaking the surface,
dark stone thrown in reverse.
Then, ringing silver ripples spread
bottled messages to brackish shores,
where jinni smoke and mirrors tease
three wishes from our dazzled tongues.


Angele Ellis is author of Under the Kaufmann's Clock (Six Gallery Press), an illustrated hybrid collection of poetry and flash fiction inspired by her adopted city of Pittsburgh, Spared (A Main Street Rag Editors' Choice Chapbook), and Arab on Radar (Six Gallery), whose poems won an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her work, which has dealt with her experience of living with chronic mental illness, has appeared in over sixty publications.