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Elaenor Aisling Aug 2022
Here, I do not need to coax the sound—
No more tremulous plucks, bated breath,
Muting my voice as it slips from my throat
It falls as a gift, freely given
Resonant as thunder in the mountains
Bold and beautiful.
How brightly I burn
When I do not have to ask
To be heard.
Elaenor Aisling Jul 2022
Longing is trammeled in my throat
Oh the honeyed years
Before I knew what to miss,
Untrusted, unspoken
I exhale its blue haze
Between the last note sung
And the first note heard.
You are the wonted dream—
The consoling ache
Wearing away at softened bones
With every wish
Unheard, unanswered
The stars are so beautiful and so cruel
Our untethered threads
Adrift in the firmament
Yet untied.
Elaenor Aisling Jul 2022
The cliff’s monumental resolve
Plucks the sustained note of its rise
over the wayward valley,
Sound thick and heavy enough to chew,
A nameless taste of memory
calls to mind
Seven years ago
When a woman who shared my name
Threw herself from the cliff,
Into the snapped arms of trees below,
The act of falling, monumental resolve
The upward sweep of dark hair
Against the grey hand of the rock.

my mother’s phone rang
with urgent voices
repeating my name as they’d heard it
On the evening news
Asking if it was me who had climbed
the bones of the mountain,
I who had stared down into the doldrum of trees,
watched them float in the captive air,
I who had murmured into the reticent sky
And still found no answer
That whispered “stay.”
I, who had scraped the soft skin of my foot across sandstone
With the last grounding pull
And still stepped into nothing.

And when she said I had not
That the name, though mine, was not mine,
I heard the relief in the notes of their voices
Collapsing into soft reprieve.

But I knew what it was
To wonder if the plummet was
like the upward flutter of coat in a draft or
The cold sweep of wind across a wet finger or
the warm, couching blast of a passing subway car.

And they don’t report on suicides for this reason
But everyone hoped it was an accident
Because accidents can be explained away
As the things that pluck us up and drop us into death,
But walking into death
With open eyes always led to too many questions.

Someday, she and I--
our name will be said for the last time
Edging on the ledge of wrinkled lips
Staring into the ground below—
And the syllables will hold themselves over the edge of the world
And jump.
Based on a true story. A woman who shared my name died by suicide in my hometown.
Elaenor Aisling Jul 2022

The signposts at the end of her life
Swam in watery fades
I don’t know if she had time
To forget how to read
But there were no books in her room
Just the echoing call of an uncertain bird
As we pointed the feathers out to her through the dusty blinds.
And later
When she was gone
I could not cry—
everything I knew of her
slipped beneath a frozen surface
Running like the sound of water
In underground caves
Unburst and unfelt.
I asked for a blood letting,
For him to stay with me
While I found something sorrowful enough
To bring the memories to the vein’s surface
And he held me while I sobbed
At a mother feeding her starving daughter
Trying to save her from herself.
I do not know
If my grief stays buried so deep
To keep the surface waters calm
Or if it had dried, and isn’t there at all
And I am digging a well
For an imagined thirst.
Prompt from a friend: The signposts at the end of her life
  Apr 2022 Elaenor Aisling
I don’t, don't speak human
when blue comes down to talk
in the clogged old crannies of the night
with ornate skin
moves her arm
her wrist, her fingers
quick like the clicking of a tongue
quick glitter, gentle then gentler
and rippling, a water eye in blue

over hills and over muddles
see the crow fly

when time comes fluttering back to us
tell me again of the war
when mingles the sword with
flowering heart and the reeds
speak up, their
thin throats filled
with lore, and lure the scattered world here
here here

tell me

tell me, on and on the
tingling of mud as it is
lifted, lifted, to man, to callous,
like sun-forged flesh and force,
to his child, and the parting
of two lips
parting! the lifting, the toiling of tendon in the
riot of soul

over the woods! over mountains
see the crow fly, feel her shadow
when throe laughs, tickles the muscle
and even past wakes up
and even the gaunt clutched spine
of a thin sallow voice
perks up keening

hear hear hear

the beating of the feat
the beating of the nerve
when chant them men, and sole
and leather, with rumble
the rumble of war
when slides sly down the sweat and dust
and galleries light up
with walls full of human
and museums cradle little stones
little bones and calls
tell me
tell me tell me
even a crow can sing sing
sing one awake
perhaps a bit too crowded this one
I like some bits still

Elaenor Aisling Jan 2022
Tuesday: a squalling jolt of surprise sorrow
And I am holding a flood behind my lips
Mouth pressed to the leak,
While the sadness glides through me like a body under ice
Faceless, unnamed specter
Caressed in the current’s deadly beauty
While I stand voiceless, holding this sudden sorrow
Like a half-rotted memory.
Who is it for?
What tattered thread snapped
left a frayed chalk line
At the back of my neck.
Morbidly, I wonder if one of the men I’ve loved is dead
If this stranger grief
Is the last sinew of intimacy
torn asunder.
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