Emily Rose Cole


Listen to the audio version.

It's as if I'm at once Odysseus lashed
to the mast, & also the sirens' shattering
counterpoint. Think rope-burn & crush
syndrome. Think Zippo, brushwood,
six months of drought. Think of pain as
the peregrine's notched beak, the bandsaw
incarnate, its suffering whine, its greedy
teeth. The fact is, no metaphor satisfies.

My best attempt so far is how our hero
didn't know whether their song was a jinx
or a blessing until he'd thrashed under
its power long enough to learn that "or"
is circumstantial at best. How he wanted it
not to be a premonition of where all loved
& unloved bodies go.
                       How there was nothing
                       he could do but listen.


*First published in Killjoy Magazine’s.


Emily Rose Cole is the author of a chapbook, Love & a Loaded Gun, from Minerva Rising Press. She has received awards from Jabberwock Review, Philadelphia Stories, and the Academy of American Poets. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2018, Spoon River Poetry Review, The Pinch, and Southern Indiana Review. She holds an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is pursuing a PhD in Poetry and Disability Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Visit her website at emilyrosecolepoetry.com.