Who could know the depth
Of what is not spoken here,
Between the shaky breaths
And tightening throat?
Through eyes squeezed shut,
Telltale stains that prophesy
Of the storm within.
And then sigh
Like desert in rain.
My cloudless eyes discern
The bleeding lines of charcoal grey—
A sober awakening
To a world I always believed
Confined to black and white.
Liquid salt mingles
With the once innocent skin
Captured by knowledge.
“What then?” the mocking birds
Jeer. “Rainbows in shades of grey?
Huh!” They scoff at my
But I—I crumble under the loss of
Oblivion to unbrushed hair
And the simple comfort in the
Afternoon tea and Christopher Robin
Perhaps are naïve,
And yet, do they not beckon of
What is to become?
Glimpses of freedom,
Served alongside the tea sandwiches
With pompous glee.
Alas! My withering eyes must perceive,
But please, please…let the children be.
If I had one word
To curl around a
What would be?
How could it be?
To close a gap of
There are things in me
Too deep for a collection of syllables
To capture in fleshy metaphors.
Pella: A Hometown Profile
Here, in the cherry red booths
Where the tween-agers slurp down
Malts with boisterous delight
Giddy at the un-chaperoned outing.
Or that tall table in the
Frosted window where you sat
Across from your best friend
Straining to block out snippets
Of local gossip and messy break ups
From the neighboring booths while
Shouting above the roar of the
Those brick laid streets you
Always tripped over in front
Of the red hat society tourists
Drooling over the ‘adorable’ European architecture
On their way to the bakery.
The infamous trademark of the
Town, filled with mouth-watering
Dutch delicacies—the popular one for
Sweets, the other for breads and out-of-towners.
And here, the town square
With the Tulip Torren—
The massive cement structure
Where the Tulip Queen is crowned
Each year, a handful of jittery
High school girls who pined to
Grace the descending steps with
The tiara, the whole town
And others for miles around
A captive audience.
And the houses—gingerbreads!
Brick and cheery and groomed
Dutch fronts and fixed smiles.
But the ally ways bleed
And a two-wheeled tricycle,
Like eyes, speak volumes
More than vocal pleasantries
In this little town.
Sometimes you can only
Breathe by the water,
Perched on the jutting rocks
That compose the dam a few miles outside city limits,
Gazing off into the red rock cliffs,
Only then realizing that
This well-to-do little pocket
Possesses the average grime
Under its fingernails—
It’s just that…they’re painted.
Reasons To Live
When I raise my eyes from this mug of foam
And catch the shadows of scum riding on
Or gaze into the terraces that line my mother’s face,
Overwhelmed and apathetic to those specks of blue—
The color of hope—
Broken, between the gaps of
For what is breath and lungs and
Blood-pumping ventricles? And what does it have to do
With me? Must I breathe?
But breathing—the conscious act that chooses
To see the ember in the soot
And fan it into flame. Like
The day you learned to read,
Which more aptly seemed
The day you
Unlocked the world.
Or that sweet flood of value
When eyes lock across a room and
You are sifted like gold from rock.
And you know and are known,
Beyond word, thought, or act,
Casual and wonderful: unconditional.
That dull ache like emerging hunger
At the back of your throat
From the quiet release of tears
Which seems at first a plausible card
For sympathy, until age argues otherwise,
In the emancipation of emotions perceived.
In the same way, laughter,
Bipolar as a wave crashes and crumbles
At the everyday dust injustice brings—
Singing in the rain;
A mystery undefined as grief—
Stuff you cannot chart—but you try to anyway
Because you belong to humanity.
But out of all this, this thing, perhaps,
Is the force that drives me forward:
Extravagance nailed to a twisted tree.
Biographical Note for Emalea Diehl
Emalea Diehl was raised among the cornfields and small towns of Iowa and is currently attending Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she is double-majoring in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Reconciliation Studies, minoring in Creative Writing. A few of her favorite things include late-night conversations, steamy cups of tea, traveling to new places, and all things homemade. She has a passion to voice the stories of those around her.